Bravo Imperial Brown Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
408 Ratings
THE BROS
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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
Ratings:
408
Reviews:
116
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
7.21%
 
 
Wants:
53
Gots:
115
For Trade:
14
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 408 |  Reviews: 116
Photo of Sammy
3.87/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like Firestone Walker beers - really. However, this is simply a good and decent and better than average brown ale - there is nothing special about it. Well made, high quality and tastes good. Certainly my opinion is that my 3.75 expresses that opinion. I am a firm believer that the ratings are grossly inflated because it's FW and comes in a box and they make you believe that it's "special." Good for them. Shame on us for the inflated score.

 452 characters

Photo of jaydoc
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.74/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Firestone Walker Barrelworks in Buellton, CA.

Pours a hazy orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, citrus zest, wood, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, brown sugar, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop and wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty but has a slightly better set of aromas in my opinion.

 661 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -7%

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

best brown ale ive had in ages, huge thanks to claystation for bringing this one over. if i understand it correctly, this was brewed only to be a thread in various blends over the years, and is finally coming out on its own for the first time. they have been hiding a real treasure! soft reddish brown color far lighter than i had it in my head that it might be, looks barrel aged though, sort of thick, a little hazy, and not a ton of bubbles, looks mature, steadfast. it smells like heaven! the first thing i get is very high quality bourbon, vanilla forward, charcoal, and honey. a bit of a lighter malt base, not even chocolatey really, maybe some light cocoa powder type, but mild for sure, and seemingly more focused on a caramely sweet malt side of things, and letting the barrel do a lot of the work, which it sure does. heavy bourbon in the flavor too, equal parts whiskey and wood, with vanilla and brown sugar right behind it, a dusty dried cocoa complexion, a little toasted nuttiness, sweet grains, and just a pleasant warming alcohol dose to finish. its hard to imagine its this strong, there is no sign of that kind of aggressive heat, really mellow and enhancing, not forced. its so smooth and complex, lighter for a brown but so much more flavorful than most, a different slice of the malt spectrum here, almost like it was built for these special barrels, its genius. weird its named after a hop, as i didnt get a whole lot of that in here. i couldnt get enough of this one, and admire the price point as much as i admire the beer. absolutely decadent!

 1,570 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of metter98
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is rather hazy brown in color. It poured with a short off white head that left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a thick collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of bourbon from the barrel aging are present in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has strong flavors of bourbon along with hints of chocolate malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has strong flavors of bourbon but hides its alcohol very well.

Serving type: bottle

Note: 2017 vintage

 571 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

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

On tap at City Beer. Listed as 13% ABV.

Dark auburn body with little head formation. Nice color and clarity when held to the light.

Smells strongly of caramel and toasted coconut, stewed fruits, dates, brown sugar. Great aroma that's reminiscent of Firestone's 11th anniversary ale. Pretty well integrated bourbon barrel character, and little discernible alcohol.

Palate of caramel and toasted coconut, mellow bourbon booziness and brown sugar, this is quite good. Sweet and rich with a full body, carbonation is gentle as usual with Firestone's barrel aged beers. The barrel is present but integrated, and it finishes semi-sweet with slight char from the barrel, finishing with toffee and tobacco. Great stuff, one of the better barrel aged beers I've tried from Firestone.

 777 characters

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev 0%
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.

 2,320 characters

Photo of Boone757
4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of Kegatron
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 1,796 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.3/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sample at Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen 2017, red session. Dark amber color with beige head. Aroma has light bourbon and sweet/syrupy malt. Taste is sweet, really toffee and butterscotch forward and a bit boozy.

 219 characters

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

Photo of billab914
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of smithj4
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of vfgccp
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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Bravo Imperial Brown Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.3 out of 5 based on 408 ratings.
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