Molé Merkin
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Molé MerkinMolé Merkin
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Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #1,610
Ranked #8,387
4.06 | pDev: 8.13%
Jun 16, 2023
Oct 03, 2018
A variant from our Velvet Merkin, Molé Merkin was inspired by the traditional Mexican dish, molé. We added dried Puya chili, cinnamon and cocoa nibs from the Dominican Republic to a brandy barrel-aged version of our Velvet Merkin. The chili adds a spicy. yet approachable heat, with rich dark berry fruit flavor. The addition of cocoa nibs helps balance the heat from the peppers, adding to the mouthfeel. The result is a complex, yet delicate beer, with flavors of earthy chili pepper, cinnamon and cocoa.
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Photo of zeff80
Reviewed by zeff80 from Missouri

4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2019 version on tap at Irene's BBQ. Poured an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It left thin trails of lace. It smelled of cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, peppers and roasted malt. Great cinnamon, pepper and vanilla taste with rich chocolate and toffee taste.
Jun 16, 2023
Photo of donspublic
Reviewed by donspublic from Texas

4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2019 vintage. Poured from bottle into a tulip, good 3 finger tight dark tan head, great retention and good lacing. Jet black in the glass, no light passes thru. Bourbon notes on the nose up front, slight cinnamon and a dusty earthiness. Taste is vanillin, cinnamon, cocoa, little to no roast, lactose sweetness and finishes smooth with residual fruity pepper left on the palate. Nice beer, but they could have gone heavier on the pepper or perhaps used a combination to tweak out some of the fruitiness some supply.
Mar 09, 2023
Photo of jmdrpi
Reviewed by jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
on draft, in nonic glass

very dark brown, almost black in color, cream colored head. Nice dark cocoa and cinnamon flavor. Slightly sweet. fuller bodied.
Feb 18, 2023
Rated: 4.07 by socon67 from New York

Dec 25, 2022
Photo of ryan1788a5
Reviewed by ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2019 Bourbon barrel edition.

A: Black pour with a one inch beige head. Retention is decent, but the head settles after five to ten minutes. Lacing forms thin rings.

S: A tickle of chili pepper is apparent first, followed closely by a stiff whiff of cinnamon that almost comes across as steely. Barrel aromas tag themselves in next. Sweet, corny bourbon, dusty oak, coconut shavings and subtle marshmallow. Bakers chocolate and some smokey roast. Fruity coffee bean sort of scent. Tight, berry-like and almost jammy fruitiness and a whisper of papery oxidation starting to form.

T: As in the nose, the chili pepper hits first. It tastes like chipotle powder, with a nice smokiness but mild heat. Cinnamon follows in close proximity, and is sharp but well-controlled. Fatty cocoa nibs brings a chocolate syrup sort of flavor, and thoroughly own the mid-palate. Barrel contributions are more subtle than the nose suggested. Sweet, corny bourbon is easygoing and not at all hot. Some dusty oak with plenty of vanillins redolent of shaved coconut and marshmallow. Very subtle stewed red fruit and a fleeting papery flavor. Cocoa nibs return on the finish with a very fatty and chocolatey feel that trails on forever with an even-keeled smokiness.

M: Rich and thick in body. Definite sense of heft, but it stays lithe enough to not be sludgey. Somewhat coating and oily, likely from a good dose of the cocoa nibs. Carbonation is ample and fine, prickling a little around the tongue. Chewy but silky too.

O: Nicely done all around. I get more Mexican hot chocolate out of it than a dark mole, but I guess they're close enough conceptually and either way I'm definitely not complaining. The balance is not perfect, with the fatty nib flavors dominating a bit and the barrel staying more quiet than expected, but it all works. The spicing stays at an even keel, which is probably most important. I will say that the 2019 release is best enjoyed right now. At the three year mark, the age is just barely starting to show. It's at the tail end of its peak IMO, and it won't improve from here on out.
Oct 02, 2022
Rated: 4.23 by cd34 from Illinois

Sep 08, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by drstalker from Illinois

May 01, 2022
Rated: 4.28 by ElGallo from New Hampshire

Mar 23, 2022
Rated: 4.21 by craigbelly from Iowa

Feb 28, 2022
Rated: 4.31 by Capn_Colbeer from Texas

Feb 27, 2022
Rated: 3.9 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Dec 06, 2021
Photo of flagmantho
Reviewed by flagmantho from Washington

4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip. This is a 2019 bottle.

Appearance: nearly black with only some dark brown highlights showing around the edges when held up to the light. Head isa thick finger of creamy tan foam. I think it looks great!

Smell: it's got sweetness, chocolate, dark fruits, and a light dash of chili. Upon further reflection, the cinnamon does come out as well. It does smell a little bit boozy, which is not really supported by the ABV; interesting. Still, I quite like it.

Taste: it's a smooth stout with a balanced flavor; the chili is just a little hint of interest, and the chocolate is not overdone at all. The one thing that is missing for me here is the richer dark-fruit flavors that come from a bigger beer. That being said, I think this beer achieves a better balance than a lot of other "mole" stouts do. A delightful treat.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a moderate carbonation and creaminess. To be honest, it doesn't have the big creaminess or smoothness that I usually expect of the style. Not bad overall, but not a style exemplar.

Overall: a very decent treat indeed, and I'm going to quite enjoy finishing this bottle slowly.
Sep 28, 2021
Rated: 4.14 by curlybird from Pennsylvania

Sep 25, 2021
Rated: 4 by Gobzilla from California

Jul 21, 2021
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Reviewed by tobelerone from New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Is it overpriced at about ten bucks a bottle for a sub 8% beer? Yeah probably. Still it’s an excellent drinker, super balanced, aged well without getting that dusty character some beers with chilies and/or cinnamon can get. Smooth well rounded feel and moderate barrel presence. Just drinkable and tasty and nailed the flavor profile. Sort of like a lighter take on a BA Mexican Cake.
Jun 14, 2021
Photo of DIM
Reviewed by DIM from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2019 bottle. The notes on this listing say this is Brandy barrel-aged, but my bottle says bourbon barrel-aged.

Chocolate is the most prominent flavor. I did get a bit of cinnamon and just a whisper of pepper. The barrel influence is mellow and well incorporated.
Jun 06, 2021
Rated: 4.18 by Taenim from Maine

Jun 05, 2021
Rated: 4.36 by cp45 from New Jersey

May 29, 2021
Photo of beergoot
Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Dark mahogany brown body capped with a thick, dense, and creamy khaki colored head. Initial smell filled with rich, sweet chocolate giving way to spicy and herbal tones. Outstanding flavor feast; milk chocolate and cocoa; cumin, curry, and chili peppers; sweet earthiness throughout; dull hop bitterness. Heavy body; silky and smooth on the palate; mild chili pepper warmth.

All righty, then!!! This beer has some age to it yet other than some well-subdued barrel aging in the taste, the chocolate and spice aspects have melded together into a superb taste treat. The chili pepper has mellowed into a fine complementary flavor component. An exquisite beer...

2019 version. Poured at 55° F.
May 26, 2021
Photo of Antg8989
Reviewed by Antg8989 from New Jersey

4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours very dark brown. Brown head that dissipates as expected. No Lacing 4.25
Aroma: blend of dark and milk chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and hints of cinnamon. 4.5
Taste: roasty coffee with blends of chocolate - the blend of cinnamon and chile pepper works well together and even comes through after 2 years. Damn, would have been nice to have this a year or so earlier. Bourbon barrels round everything out. 4.25
Feel is light-medium carbonation - lighter bodied. 4.25
Overall - a Firestone Walker knows what they’re doing. Never a huge milk stout fan, but this combination makes Mole Merkin an enjoyable offering for those looking to change up the typical milk stout. 4.25
May 18, 2021
Molé Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 154 ratings