Molé Merkin
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Molé MerkinMolé Merkin
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #1,683
Ranked #6,446
4.06 | pDev: 8.37%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Molé MerkinMolé Merkin
Notes: 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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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 114 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jngrizzaffi
jngrizzaffi from Texas

4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2019 Vintage. Pours a pitch black color with a finger width foamy head. Head retention is good as is lacing. Has mainly a cinnamon aroma with some chocolate in the background. Some mild chocolate up front on the taste with heavy cinnamon at the end. Mild roasting all the way around. Do not get any heat from chili peppers; just mild flavor on the aftertaste. Medium to heavy bodied with moderate carbonation.

Thursday at 02:15 AM
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stortore from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. 2019 edition, had 6/5/20.

Pours a dark cola color, semi opaque, with a half inch foamy head and light foamy lacing. Aromas of chilies, malt, cinnamon, smoke, some vanilla and chocolate, light bourbon. Flavors of cinnamon, chocolate, malt, some chilies, light bourbon, light vanilla, some smoke. Smooth, a good medium to full body, well carbonated.

The add- ins add to both the aroma and flavor and make it a little better than the original, which has really slipped over the last few years. Lighter barrels than the original, too. Enjoyable.

Jun 12, 2020
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IKR from California

3.74/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2018 Vintage

Appearance: Dark brown with a generous-sized foamy beige head that slowly faded. A good looking Stout

Smell: A hint of brandy and mild dark chocolate aromas. The nose is fairly subdued.

Taste: The taste profile features mild cinnamon, mild barrel notes, a touch of pepper spiciness, and mild cinnamon mild chocolate notes. The taste profile like the nose is fairly subdued but well balanced. the beer had to come close to room temperature before the flavor elements began to really stand out.

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

Overall: Not a bad beer but the nose and flavor profile are somewhat subdued in comparison to most Firestone Walker bal-aged offerings. Once allowed to warm the flavor elements began to assert themselves a bit more.

May 23, 2020
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HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light carbonation with a just above average body. Has a creamy, super slick feel to it
Aroma is bourbon, wood,,alcohol, sugary dark fruit and leather
Taste for the most part follows the aroma . The heat that didn't show up to much in the aroma is there a bit in the taste

Mar 24, 2020
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.84/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown color with a small tan head.
Aroma on the lighter side. Chocolate, booze, hint of spice.
Chile more apparent in the taste. Cocoa, cinnamon.
The chili is subtle but well-represented.

Mar 24, 2020
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barnzy78 from Illinois

4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2019, 7.8% ABV, bourbon barrel aged. Dark brown body with a foamy tan head. Aroma is intriguing: bourbon, toasted coconut, oak, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa nib. Very smooth flavors that all meld beautifully together: bourbon, vanilla, cocoa nib, chocolate, vanilla, lactose, roasted barley, cinnamon, toasted coconut, and very mild peppery heat. Fuller body, creamy and quite smooth, soft carbonation, excellently balanced finish. This thing is delicately delicious - I appreciate the approachable ABV on this barrel aged beauty.

Feb 25, 2020
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours an effervescent mahogany with a thumb+ of mocha colored head. Average head retenton & lacing

S: Cocoa, a little vaniila & faint figgy notes, all fade a bit as this warms

T: Coconut, vanilla, cocoa powder, just a little chili heat up front along with dryness. Dryness, toasted coconut, vanilla, cocoa & a little cinnamon & chili heat as this warms up. Finishes with powdery cocoa sweetness, chili heat, vanilla & still coconut

MF: Medium body, subdued carbonation

Easy to drink, probably one of the lower ABV American IMP Stouts I've ever had, still delivered flavor, but more body & barrel would've impressed me more

Feb 23, 2020
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oberon from North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a snifter a dark fudge color with a creamy half finger deep mocha colored head atop,not much light getting thru this.Brandy and deep chocolate stand out most in the nose,smoldering chili's come into play as it warms underneath the brandy and chocolate.Dark fruits dipped in brandy upfront on the palate followed by chocolate with the peppers giving off light heat in the finish that lingers.Big berry fruit flavors with just enough heat to let you know it's there,great beer!

Feb 19, 2020
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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

L: A black-brown oily brew with a short lived half finger tan head that sizzles down with zero lacing.

S: Muted malt and cinnamon. Hard to find an aroma here.

T: Really low on the taste scale. Merkin was always a gentler beer but this is pretty weak. A little cinnamon, and chili comes through and some cocoa once it warms.

F: Thin overall with little carbonation.

O: Disappointing. I never expected this variant to have less going on than the base beer. Not worthy of a $10 price tag.

Feb 16, 2020
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hoptheology from South Dakota

3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle from Donald, BOMB snifter.

Thin black body, thin white sliver of head.

Aroma of chocolate, freshly opened pepper teriyaki beef jerky (perhaps that's a soy note there), and chili peppers.

Flavor is of lite chocolate milk, black pepper, cream, some dark fruit, and some soy. Nearly no barrel.

Feel is thin, bordering anorexic for the style, and heavily carbonated. Nearly no alcohol heat though.

Overall, for a boxed beer from Firestone Walker this beer was incredibly mediocre. Price point is still $10 for this thing and it's a total rip off. A major disappointment. Pass on this one, dear reader - don't even get curious.

Feb 12, 2020
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arizcards from Arizona

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from the Craft Beer Hop Stop on 11-14-19 for $9.99. Presumably bottled in the fall 2019; consumed 2-8-20.

Beer poured dark brown with a nice off white head with the original pour.

Nose is nice, has hints of chocolate and dark fruit.

Taste is very good, a nice mix of dark chocolate, dark fruit, a touch of cinnamon, and a very light kiss of bourbon. Finishes with a nice touch of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and thin.

Overall some wonderful flavors in this brew but it lacks the overall punch of the typical BA beer from FWBC. A splurge to try at $10; one and done with this brew, unlike most of the BA series from FW.

Feb 08, 2020
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Near black with a fat finger of creamed mocha head. Thick, sloppy, webbed lacing.

Light roasted malt in the nose, giving hints of nutty coffee, coupled with clear pepper, cinnamon and a touch of cherry or plum.

The taste follows fairly closely. I get a creamed coffee base with cinnamon, a little pepper and a slight hint of fruit.

Medium bodied feel that straddles the line between oily and creamy. Modest prickly carbonation.

Not my favorite offering from these guys. While the mouthfeel is appropriate to the style, I’ve come to expect thicker these days, and the barrel presence is a bit too restrained. Decent beer, but not as transcendent as many of their others.

Feb 08, 2020
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ludachris from Canada

4.36/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It's as close to black as dark brown can be. A frothy, crackling tan head is light on its feet, moving to the sides at an average pace.

The nose is dense and earthy. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are big and with an understated sweetness. Bourbon-y dark fruits coming in the way of chocolate covered raisins and fig pudding. A teaspoon of cinnamon adds liveliness. It slowly unpacks itself, one layer at a time.

Sweet, toasty, earthy goodness. The chocolate now has a milky edge, thanks to the lactose. Cinnamon and pepper are delicately etched into it. Smooth coconut and oak meld into a soft roast. I can't do this beer justice in three sentences.

All of this complexity and rich dark flavor are packed into this slightly filmy medium body. I'd love more weight here. It does add to its drinkability, however. My lips are sticky and my chest is warm.

I love how delicate, intricate, and integrated this beer is. I found the chili strictly on the earthy side, with no added heat. That could also speak to my own abuse of hot sauce. Firestone Walker has never failed me. One of my beer goals is to get to a level where I can fully appreciate what they put out.

Jan 27, 2020
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puck1225 from Texas

3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This a boring but decent beer. The description uses the word “delicate”, but my palate says “lacking flavor”.

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Dark brown with decent head and lacing. Sort of a sweet earthy smelt and taste. You get a hint of chili but it seems uninspired. Not a repeater.

Jan 20, 2020
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Anders91 from California

3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: head dissipated rapidly, dark brown with amber edges

Smell: cream, hint of booze

Taste: creamy too much so in my opinion, booze, malt, a hint of spice

Feel: smooth in a sort of boring way

Jan 14, 2020
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orcrist_cleaver from New York

3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

To echo some other things that have been said about this beer it's an unspectacular attempt a a Mexican Hot chocolate type of beer. For FW to be putting at such a pedestrian beer, and then package it like the grail (at least there was no wax seal) is disappointing. I'm glad I didn't have to purchase this myself. I probably wouldn't pay more than $3 for it at a package store whereas it retails for triple that. That being said it's not terrible enough to not drink. Light cinnamon whipped cream gives it a latte-lactose like feel. But I was really surprised at the ABV when I saw it was barrel-aged as the body was thin and not decadent. Earthier crunch of cocoa nibs, or peanuts, and it's like chomping on espresso beans. Very little heat. The flavors, however, are nice and balanced which is the best thing this has going for it. Nothing too sexy, but drinkable. My overall rating is really out of my respect for FW and it's outrageous pricepoint. You can do better.

Jan 11, 2020
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churchillps from Texas

2.01/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Thin and essentially flavorless. Would have never in a million years guessed they tried to put mole flavors into this beer. Just tastes like a straight up sweet milk stout.

Jan 07, 2020
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beerbully from New Jersey

4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Jet light shining through......head almost non-existent......lacing is sparse

S-Chocolate / cinnamon.....slight peppery notes......toasty malts

T-Equal parts chocolate and cinnamon....these flavors jump out right at the get go.....milky lactose is next followed by some slight peppery notes that compliment the aforementioned flavors.....brown sugar.....some Bourbon barrel notes.....nice balance and somewhat complex

F- Thick and slick.....feels like a thin milk shake......full of flavor.....low carb

O- Great beer....complex....different.....enjoyable

Jan 04, 2020
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tigg924 from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours opaque, dark brown in color with one half inch head. Taste is cocoa, dark roast coffee--reminds me of the great type I got from Hawaii, and a bit of peanut and whisky barrel. Medium bodied, sweet, complex, low carbonation. There is peppery heat on the finish. Excellent and unique. I expect nothing less than excellence from Firestone Walker and this is indeed excellent.

Jan 01, 2020
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teromous from Virginia

3/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the front label: "2019" and "7.8% ALC./VOL."
Along the glass just under the label, on the left side, and barely visible: "08/27/19 17:53"

Appearance: The body is black and it has a medium fizzy khaki head that quickly drops to a short cap, then a bit slower into a ring.

Aroma: It smells a bit like chocolate with this earthy dirt-like aroma that pops in and out along with the chocolate. There's a bit of a coffee bean aroma to the beer. It is a bit odd because none of these scents sound bad but they just have an odd quality.

Taste: Up front there is some burnt coffee and chocolate flavor. This is followed by a bit of cinnamon flavor and and odd earthy dirt-like taste. The aftertaste is cinnamon. It's an odd beer because it tastes a bit like bad coffee but it has some chocolate and cinnamon flavors which sometimes cover this character up.

Mouthfeel: It has a full body and there is some light bitterness. It is very smooth which is nice.

Overall: It's an alright beer. The label states that this is a "MILK STOUT AGED IN BOURBON BARRELS WITH COCOA NIBS, CINNAMON & CHILI PEPPERS." The cocoa nibs and cinnamon are there, it is possible that some of the earthiness came from the peppers and possibly some from the chocolate. The bourbon and barrel qualities seemed to be absent. The beer had a bit of a "bad coffee" flavor to it which was strange given that it was not made with coffee, but this could be a byproduct of other ingredients. It's a drinkable beer and it has spice in it to bury some of these flavors but I doubt I would buy it again. It feels like your average attempt at a beer like this, which seems strange for Firestone Walker.

Dec 25, 2019
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Herbabee from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

aww man, this is luxurious. that fiddle faddle-ish "Merkin" nose of which i'd already made an acquaintance, the burnished earthy melange as it hits the back of the throat, the menacingly persistent little ring of carbonation around the surface.

blind squirrel found a fortuitous and unexpected nut this day - and by the brewer i hate to love, to boot. i could obtain but (3) more right now if i want them badly enough. change my mind.

Dec 15, 2019
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Firestone Walker Molé Merkin, 7.8% ABV. Pours black with a 1.5 finger tan head that left solid foam lacing. Nose is cinnamon, chocolate, and peppers. Taste is cinnamon and chocolate, slightly sweet, with a slight pepper bite, and light bitterness. Excellent mouthfeel, overall excellent.

Dec 12, 2019
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jkblr from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz 2019 vintage bottle poured into snifter at just above fridge temp 7.8% ABV 21 IBU 84 SRM per label. The beer pours dense dark brown with medium brown highlights and mocha colored head. The head recedes to a thin ring and island leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is fairly strong with pepper, chocolate and cinnamon. The taste is semisweet stout & cocoa up front with the pepper & cinnamon coming through on the finish. There is little bitterness and the barrel is very subtle here. Some tannins and vanilla, but no bourbon that I can pick up. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with just less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. The drying pepper and spice finish offsets the milk sugar perfectly. Overall, outstanding. Really well crafted, delicious and unique.

Dec 04, 2019
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DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.14/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with half a finger of khaki head. The pour revealed how crazy thin this beer.

Nose is light roasty malt, sweetness, cinnamon, very mild coconut, chocolate. A vibrant smelling brew.

Taste is mild chocolate, cinnamon, coconut, malt, some bitterness from the peppers. Not getting much of any wood or bourbon.

Mouthfeel is smooth with fine carbonation. Very thin though. Doesn't seem to suit these flavors well.

Overall this brew tastes pretty good but it seems very mild in too many aspects. Not powerful or bombastic enough.

Dec 01, 2019
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Vixie from Illinois

3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Looks to be black at first, but is actually a deep ruby red. There is a small tan head that dissipates in a few minutes to some nice lacing.

Smell is coffee and chocolate with maybe a hint of cinnamon.

Chocolate dominates up front, but there is a hint of sweetness, little bit of cinnamon, and finishes a bit warm from the chilis. The heat is pretty subtle, just enough to let you know it's there.

The feel was the weakest part to me, seemed pretty thin for a stout.

Overall it's not bad, but I feel falls a little short of others I have had from this brewery. One thing, usually I don't like beers with chilis in them, as the heat tends to dominate and wipe out any other flavors. That is not the case here, much better balanced than any chili beer I have had. Everything from this brewery is worst trying, including this one, just not as good as their other offerings.

Nov 29, 2019
Molé Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 114 ratings