Bravo Imperial Brown Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Bravo Imperial Brown AleBravo Imperial Brown Ale

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

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

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Ratings: 406 |  Reviews: 116
Photo of churchillps
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of imperialking
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dirtyhands
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MurphDog14
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of B302
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of tbryan5
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of danasofia
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a goblet glass.

Look - I love it. Deep ruby and maroon, with a dark brown cloudiness. Positively murky but still bright and inviting.

Smell - Bitter chocolate, bourbon and rye whiskey, cloyingly sweet vanilla and coconut, and dark sweet malt. Rich and wonderful.

Taste - Follows the nose but gets more nuanced. Notes of brown sugar, plums and dates, molasses, hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds, along with the bourbon, chocolate, coconut, and vanilla notes of the nose. Very sweet and rich, with a strong boozy presence that somehow doesn't disrupt the balance.

Feel - Perfect for the style. Somewhat syrupy and sticky, almost chewy, but only after a good deal of warming, before which its mostly light, nicely carbonated, and bordering on thin in feel.

Overall - Delicious beer with a lot of unique subtleties. The offering of major flavors from other barrel aged beers (stouts, quads) stands out.--something about the relative lightness of a brown ale seems to offer a cleaner, lighter take on them. Worth a try or two.

 1,058 characters

Photo of Dizzy242
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of 7irondave
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of argock
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz boxed brown bottle into a clear glass tulip. Vintage 001 2017 on box and label. 121716 stamped on bottle neck.

A: Murky brown with abundant floaties with 1-finger light beige head with quick fade and no lacing.

S: Heavy sweet candy bourbon whiskey aromas with a bit of chocolate and dark fruit raisin and pretty strong alcohol.

T: Flavor is a bit more nuanced with more malt flavors such as date, rum raisin, pecans, medium bittersweet chocolate, and black coffee with a continued big presence of sweet bourbon. Reminds me a lot of Backwoods Bastard only more boozy and less complex.

M: Drinks very light for the ABV with low carbonation and medium-high body.

O: Nothing really wrong with this beer but nothing really great about it either. I would drink Backwoods Bastard and KBS every day of the week in its place -- Bravo is less nuanced and harsher.

 878 characters

Photo of anjulajj
3.99/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rarigney
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Hazy dark brown with a small, off white head head. Medium-poor retention; head remains as a single solid ring around the edges, but the lacing is left behind in white sheets.

S: Massive bourbon barrel and oak; dark and sweet cherries, butterscotch, toasted coconut, molasses, figs, toffee, banana bread, vanilla, earth.

T: Huge dark and sweet cherries upfront, with lots of dates and figs. Nice backbone of toffee, molasses, gingerbread and banana bread. Perhaps a touch of cacao nib as well. Big bourbon barrel character with bourbon and oak notes, toasted coconut, and vanilla bean. A little butterscotch. A light bitterness on the back end of earth and tobacco. Some alcohol warmth on the finish and going down. Slightly sweet overall but finishes slightly dry with oak tannins and a touch of booze.

F: Medium-full/full-bodied, smooth and almost syrupy at first. A medium/medium-low carbonation level feels prickly on the palate, moving the creaminess along before it feels too thick, but definitely leans towards full-bodied.

O: A really solid BBA beer. Great barrel character. A fine warm sipper.

 1,123 characters

Photo of Chuckdiesel24
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Harrison8
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark burgundy-brown with a finger and a half of khaki-colored foam on top. Fair head retention, with a solid ring of foam left around the top rim of the glass. Lacing is present, but only lightly. Aroma is warm bourbon on the front, with toasted, nutty, and bready malts. A little sweet caramel seeps into the backside of the aroma. Flavor profile is robust, with notes of toasted, nutty, bready malts melding with bourbon, and oak. The bourbon refrains from being hot, or commanding. Caramel, and molasses aid the sweetness right towards the finish of the beer. It finishes dry, with a bourbon and toasted, nutty malts playing the last chord. Mouth feel is grainy, with a filling, velvety texture. It's medium-thick, and grows thicker as the beer warms. Overall, a lot going on here, but it's well calculated and executed. No notes single-handled run the show. Nice bourbon quality to it, with a pleasant, non-cloying sweetness.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 12oz bottle.

 984 characters

Photo of BarrelAgedG
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FBarber
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a thin reddish clear color. Thick large bubbles make up an off white head that dissipates steadily leaving a residual ring of soapy foam along the outside of the beer.

Smell has notes of bourbon, brown sugar, dark cherries, vanilla, and some dark fruits on the finish.

Taste follows the nose with a strong overarching bourbon flavor, notes of brown sugar, vanilla, dark cherries, and some strong tannic and oak notes on the finish.

Feel is moderately carbonated. Quite thin but that makes it easy drinking. Bit of heat on the back end.

Overall a nice rather unique beer.

 584 characters

Photo of sweemzander
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jschott75
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of IKR
4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: 2017 Vintage

Appearance: Medium-brown color a small beige head that quickly faded.

Smell: Fairly prominent Bourbon, brown sugar/toffee, and mild vanilla notes. The barrel elements feature prominently in the nose.

Taste: Following the nose the palate features Bourbon, brown sugar/toffee, faint roasted malts, vanilla, moderate hop notes, and some tannic oak notes. The finish is dry ending with the bourbon and oak notes. There is a modest alcohol presence.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a modest level of carbonation.

Overall: A good FW beer but I felt the 2017 draft version was a bit smoother and fuller-bodied than the 2017 bottle reviewed. Nonetheless a tasty bal-aged brew.

 716 characters

Photo of deonreds
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PrestigeWorldwide
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of thinwhiteduke
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, the appearance was a semi-transparent ruddy dark brown looking color with no head nor lace. The aroma had a wonderful blend of sweet toasty malts - subtle bourbon/woodiness, a touch of vanilla, smooth caramel to toffee blissful malts and a touch of tobacco. Sly earthiness at the end. The flavor melds the sweet to the earthiness in a super smooth manner encasing the woodiness to the backdrop and evenly lets it all blend on into the aftertaste to roll right into a nice semi-sticky sort of finish. On the palate, this one sat about medium bodied with a fine sipping quality about it. Somewhat low carbonation but that just seems to allow the woodiness to dryly tame the gathering of the smoothness on my tongue. Overall, a superb English strong ale, I say. Doesn’t seem hoppy enough to be American styled, still, I’m not arguing on this fine gem of a beer. A true late Winter’s sipper sure to please the maltheads.

 949 characters

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Bravo Imperial Brown Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.3 out of 5 based on 406 ratings.
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