Bravo Imperial Brown Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Bravo Imperial Brown AleBravo Imperial Brown Ale
500 Ratings
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: 500 |  Reviews: 150
Photo of rand
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass

Brew has a murky, rusty, red-brown appearance with a ton a suspended year. Any attempt at a head formation is nullified by its own weight.

Oaky, sweet bouquet with hints of molasses, burnt sugar. Plenty of booze.

More layered on the palate - molasses and caramelly notes are there, but phenolic nuances, nutmeg and cinnamon, and towards the back of the sip, and nice hop twang. Long, lingering, sweet finish.

Another solid offering from the barrel-aging masters at Firestone. Takes all of the tasty aspects of a nutty brown-ale and ramps them up, rendering a brew that's far more interesting.

 642 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of Avitra
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A tad too sweet, and not as balanced as I usually like my hard beers to be. Having said that, pretty good altogether. Lots of both winter and summer fruit. A little tanginess right at the lingering end (but not enough), and definitely hides the booze well, what with all the sweetness and all. Not unlike the Kasteel triple or similar, tad too sweet, not balanced enough hard beers.

 383 characters

Photo of tykechandler
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Tigerbrau
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of szmnnl99
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Bottled 12/7/16; drank 10/25/17 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque purple/orange/red appearance.

A violent pour yielded a small khaki head; decent lace.

Oak, brown sugar, caramel & faint bourbon notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Brown sugar, caramel & oak flavors up front; faint bourbon heat on the finish.

Sweet dessert vibes here; not straight up my alley but enjoyable.

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Photo of CraftFan5
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of NathanBeets
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/6/16. Consumed on 4/19/18.

Pours a light brown, caramel like. Minimal off white head. Look in the glass is a murky brown.

Scents that I am getting are bourbon, caramel and dark fruit.

Some nuttiness, lots of booziness and caramel on the flavor profile.

Creamy mouthfeel with some heat on the back end.

Awesome brew!

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Photo of Strohm
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of chuckgietzen
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Astor31
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Zythophile
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Date: 2017
Palate Contaminants: other beer

The color is a translucent mahogany. There's some light tan head, but the carbonation isn't particularly fine.

Smell has tons of molasses. Cola is buried somewhere in the background, and it also has a butter-like character. Cloves, with light cinnamon. There's a little room for more complexity, but the intensity and richness of the scents are very good.

Unfortunately, the taste isn't up to the flavor. The molasses are still there, but the cloves really take over. There's black licorice, too. And is nut husk a flavor? That's what pops into my mind. The dynamism in the scents is missing in the taste. Overall, sweetness is light-moderate. Also, the level of bitterness is unexpectedly high for me. That drags it down. In short, the flavors are mostly there, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

It's a bit thinner than is usual for the type. Carbonation is pretty well integrated, and the alcohol is very subdued for a twelver. If molasses was the smell and clover was the taste, then anise is the aftertaste.

 1,080 characters

Photo of ovaltine
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Milk chocolate brown on the pour, with a sandy tan head. The barrel is VERY prominent on the nose, along with oak notes and abundant chocolate aromas.

The taste has the milk chocolate first, and there’s also a significant hop presence, then the barrel notes on the back end. The feel has a creamy component that is most excellent. This beer is a joy to drink.

 365 characters

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

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Teku glass.

Look is a dark brown red with absolutely no head.

Aroma is vanilla, wood, and dark fruit.

Taste matches aroma. Lots of complex deep flavors.

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Photo of farrago
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A strong pour barely creates a light tan froth across the surface, gone quickly, likewise no real lacing. The liquid is an orange rust tinged brown, bright but there’s some much particulate floating inside you are kind of shocked it didn’t gunk up the bottle neck coming out. Smooth nose of caramel, toffee and milk chocolate, the oak toast is present without making boozy, golden raisin and fig fruit scents, witch hazel, leaves an impression that aging has mellowed it. In the mouth it’s medium-bodied and here the lack of volume lets the booziness take over. Nutty with oak char and a pervasive sourness, recalls the sort of dill notes you get from American oak. Some apple to pear but stays in the fig, date, raisin range. Takes on a bitter dark roast coffee edge towards the finish. Given how high octane it is you can consider it balanced, yet what it does lack is a kind of jazz ensemble interplay, there’s just a relentless sameness about it. Leaves this imbiber thinking that a year of aging was maybe not the best decision. (2017 edition)

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Photo of Benish
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of EnthusedAboutBeer
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brureview
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a cloudy light brown in a Stone Snifter with almost no head.

Very strong oak aroma with some fruit.

Excellent fruit, toffee, and deep oak taste. The strongest oak I can recall in the series.

Light to medium MF. Good bitterness in the finish.

A lot to impress here. The masterful blend of flavors, very enjoyable to drink. Perhaps my favorite of the aged Bourbon Barrel series.
I generally cellar them. Bravo was the best beer in the series which wasn’t cellared.

I only regret that I didn’t buy two bottles, one for the cellar.

 546 characters

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

Ruddy brown with light tan head.

Big bourbon in the nose with strong vanilla notes. Hints of fig.

Taste follows. Lots of bourbon. Big vanilla and cream and light figgy notes.

Creamy feel with just enough carbonation.

Delicious. Perfect barrel addition.

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Photo of Damian
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. (355ml) bottle purchased at Pemberton Market, Cambridge, MA
2017 Vintage
No. 001
Served in a snifter

Deep caramel amber on the pour and crimson mahogany in the glass. The crystal clear, slightly syrupy liquid was topped by a finger-tall cap of light tan froth that fell to a thick, bubbly collar. Minimal spotty lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was very barrel forward but not quite as smooth or as punchy as I anticipated. Bourbon notes came through big time. Quite boozy and moderately sweet. Good dose of toffee and caramel. Strong vanilla notes too. As the beer sat, both the bourbon and the sweet caramel character intensified. Some fruitiness also came forth. Apple and pear perhaps. Slightly nutty. Hint of maple syrup as well. The more I smelled this, the more nuance and complexity I got out of it.

Bourbon also dominated in the flavor. Loads of oaky barrel. Somewhat tannic and slightly astringent. Touch of sweetness. Caramel and toffee notes were apparent. Loads of vanilla. Slightly fruity too. Nutty in the center. More bourbon, booze and barrel notes on the back end and in the finish. Dry, oaky tannins and a big alcohol kick lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was creamy and smooth but thinner bodied for a beer of this magnitude and somewhat nondescript. A super fine, fairly subtle effervescence gave the liquid a light frothiness. By the drink’s end, the beer left a slightly sticky film on my lips.

Bravo Brown is an unabashedly bourbon forward brown ale that seems to fall squarely in barleywine territory. This is a terrific late winter sipper that really seemed to benefit from time - both in my cellar and on my coffee table. Definitely be patient with this one and you shall be rewarded.

 1,760 characters

Photo of maltznhopz
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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Bravo Imperial Brown Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 500 ratings