Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

172 Reviews
Firestone 11 - Anniversary AleFirestone 11 - Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Zorro on 12-01-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 172 | Ratings: 247
Photo of jeffthecheff
3.37/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had a pour of a bottle split between four people. Thanks for the pour Joe.

The pour is a dark brown, with only small bubbles surrounding the edge of the glass. The aroma is very strong, and the most powerfull character is an aged, oxidation aroma. At this point the oxidation is a bit much, and I'm guessing its because of the storage conditions of the bottle. There is also a liqour like aroma, and a bit of hot alcohol fumes.

The flavor is rich and sweet, and again has a big oxidation character. I had a hard time figuring out the beer so I took a quick look of the contents of the blend. Most of the beer is an imperial brown, which lends a toasty nuttiness to the flavor. It is aged in a few different barrells that previously held an assortment of liqours. I couldn't figure out the flavors each liqour brought to the beer, but it's probably because I don't drink these liqours. I'm a beer guy. There was a burning sweetness that probably came from the barrells, and a bit of oak.

The mouthfeel is not very thick despite it's abv and richness. It's lowly carbonated, but has more carbonation than the appearance would lend you to believe.

Overall, I think this bottle would have been better at an earlier time, or if it was aged in better conditions. My overall impression was that this beer is rich, old, and boozy. I probably would have appreciated it more if I understood the characters the barrell aging brought to the beer.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.38/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into snifter. Thanks for opening up this one, Mike.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a thin, bubbly, light khaki colored head.
S: I get hints of nuts, wood, sweet caramel and a bit of oxidation. Doesn’t smell bad.
T: Caramel, toasted malts and toffee come through the most, but I get flavors of brown sugar, chocolate and maybe a hint of vanilla as well. Oxidation is very light but noticeable. The aftertaste is lightly warm with booze.
M: Medium-thick body, syrupy mouthfeel, with a touch of alcohol heat that is still present after all this time.
O: Better than 10 at this point but not the best, or even second best, of the series. A good beer on its own though, but I wouldn’t sit on this very much longer.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.44/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. The pour is clear brown with not much of a head. Smells of piny hops with some booze and sugary malts. Tastes about the same but is pretty easy to drink. I'm not sure why this one is all that special though. Nothing that makes this stand out.

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Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

FW vertical sampling at Luda's annual cellar clearance, thanks Ben for bringing this one!
Served in a mini-nonic, quick review from transcribed notes.

A similar appearance to the 10 that preceded it, dark brown color, murky with suspended sediment, larger bubbles clustering in a ring around the edges. Minor spotty lacing after each sip.

Smells like dead (autolysed) yeast, lightly musty.

Thinner feel and a llght astringency puts a slight damper on it, dark fruit notes of plum and fig. Lightly bitter, with some nice barrel character. Hardys-esque, leather, prunes, port flavors. Overall slightly different from the 10, the sharp feel is less appealing though.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.63/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown almost black color with red edges and a thinner dirty white head. Dried dark fruits, sweet caramel, hints of malt chocolate, notes of wood and vanilla with some bourbon and booze in the back. A fair bit of chocolate and vanilla, smore esq. with slightly burnt caramel and toffee, notes of oak and fair presence of bourbon with a semi hot finish. The body feels a little thin in the finish with a moderate carbonatin and chewy body. Well integrated, might be a touch over the hill.

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Photo of Crosling
3.68/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany color. Nose needs more power, but does have some pleasant notes of bourbon and dark malt. Flavor is nicely balanced, but doesn't have the richness or complexity I'd prefer. It does have a nice finish, with lingering notes of chocolate and nut, but needs more depth initially.

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Photo of udubdawg
3.75/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Not cheap - $22 or $23, I forget - but well worth buying a few at this price.

Pours a nice mahogany/dark brown color, quite clear and with a half inch of rapidly receding tan foam. Some lacing left over the top quarter of the glass, after that none. Looks pretty nice.

Nose is nice too. Not over the top, and it isn't quite wowing me, but very enjoyable. The bourbon is of course quite evident, and the alcohol makes little effort to hide. In fact, inhale deeply enough and I feel a little burn. I dig it. A vague sweetness, some vanilla and charred wood aromas well beneath the bourbon, but noticeable nonetheless.

Pretty sweet beer. That goes for the flavor, and could be a one-word review. "Sweeet!"
Very much like an imperial brown ale, which I suppose makes sense as that is what most of it is. The alcohol remains at the front but usually manages to avoid being a distraction. I can't avoid calling it "hot" though. I think this one will get better but it is already quite good. In fact I believe the alcohol levels have helped keep the sweetness in check. Likewise the bourbon/brandy flavors are everpresent but seem to meld nicely with the rest of the taste. If I could I'd call the taste a 4.25 out of 5. Really nicely done.

Carbonation is low but seems appropriate for the brew. A little sticky. Very warming. A little less sweet and it could get away with being a bit thicker in body. As it is it isn't very full...some will even call it downright thin.

I'm not having any trouble at all verrry slowly sipping this beer. Very enjoyable but no desire to put this one down any faster. the alcohol heat is still a bit much. Without even thinking about the high price and low availability this one is only average in drinkability.
Recommended. And I think it'll get better too.

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Photo of craytonic
3.9/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this side-by-side with 10, 12 and 13; this one was holding up fine and should be good at least another year (as opposed to the 10th)

Appearance: mahogany/brown/black with a small head

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, raisins, vanilla, oak

Taste: Toffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar, raisins, figs, vanilla, bitter chocolate

Mouthfeel: Better carbonated than the 10th, also not as hot.

Drinkability: I think of 10-13 this was the only one we actually finished, I liked it the best. Still, that isn't saying much and I was not blown away or impressed.

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Photo of Sammy
3.94/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a blending, elements of a strong ale, an imperial stout, a barleywine. Orange, oak wood, vanilla,booze. Black with a bubbly head. Bourbon aroma. A smooth drinker. Slightly sweet finish.
Opened at My 58th Birthday Bash., with fond memories of 2007.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Thorpe for organizing and hosting the vertical tasting of the Firestone walker beers. Another once in a lifetime tasting experience. Right off the bat I'm going to rank the 5 vintages we had in order of preference 13>14>12>11>>10 (the >> means much greater).

Beer is black to brown with a haze to it, doesn't seem to be as dark as the others. Thin head of tan bubbles, minimal lacing apparently low carbonation.

Aroma is sweetness and a mild bourbon with a little roast.

Beer is a little more bourbony than the 10 but the malt wins out overall, a little syrupy but not as off putting as the 10 and there is no sign of that paper-y flavor I got in the 10. The finish is even a little bitter with some sort of roast, a decent beer for sure.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.97/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shard at our FW Anniversary Vertical Tasting. Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours dark brown, small touch of cream-colored head, and a thin ring on top.

S - Brown sugar, cinnamon, dark fruit. Nice level of sweetness that balances well with the alcohol. Very smooth.

T - Brown sugar, dark fruits, oak, touch of vanilla. You can def taste the Parabola in there, which is nice to pick out. The chocolate and vanilla are smooth, but still excellent.

M - Full bodied, light carbonation, smooth.

O - I liked this one, but not sure I preferred this to FW10. Not a whole lot going on and not sure if I dig this blend that much. Good, not great.

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't remember who shared this, but thanks!

A - Dark brown beer with a beige head that dissipated quickly to a solid ring. No real anything left on the sides.

S - Toffee, caramel, cinnamon, brown sugar, dark fruits, vanilla, molasses. Really has a lot going on, and it's pretty pleasant.

T - Taste is a lot like the smell, the Parabola comes through pretty well. Pretty sweet, with a lot of barrel and chocolate notes which are complimented by the sugars and dark fruits. Nice blend.

M - Full bodied with soft carbonation.

O - Very nice, I liked this blend more due to the complexity than the actual taste, but it was still really good.

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Photo of bulletrain76
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle courtesy of CaptainCougar. Tasted side by side with 12, and while age seems to have taken some of the alcohol edge of of this one, it was just eclipsed by 12. Dark brown with a oily head. Plenty of oak character, with caramel and light coffee in the aroma. Sweet flavor; a bit boozy, with caramel, dried and crystalized fruit, and light roast. Medium-full bodied. A bit lighter than I expected, certainly lighter than 12, and I appreciate that. More brown and red ale influence in this one, though it comes off like a barley-wine in practicality.

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Photo of baggio
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared with BA rojo. This was the last ale at our lite samplesession.

A: Dark red with a minimal head.

S: Bourbon, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Alcohol.

T: Vanilla, Bourbon, Dark fruit, Chocolate, Raisins.

M: Body is thinner than i expected but full of flavours. A bit of alcohol shines through at the end of a sip.

A really good beer but nowhere as good as the hype suggests. Interesting!

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Photo of PatronWizard
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at my home by the ridiculously sharing OlieIPA. Couldn't wait to dive into this legend.

Pours a deep, deep blood moon of a beer. Ruby hued in the light. Not too much of a head, probably because Mike ever so gently distributed each drop with the love of a mother bear into our glasses, carefully avoiding any splash, ripple, overflow, turbulence, or other form of liquid disturbance. Good hands. Shades of grape juice (the beer, not the hands).

Sniff is of black cherries. Maybe a hint of the booze. Subtle scent, kinda disappointing after the build-up.

Taste is of brown sugar, extreme sweetness. Alcohol at the end. Almonds for sure.

Very smooth. Almost too smooth. And a little thinner than I had anticipated. Makes me want to chug the whole glass in one mighty gulp. Alcohol begins to show itself at the end. Good thing I like alcohol.

So this was very good, no doubt about it. I had expected a little more in the smell and taste, but I'm just an ignant bastard after all.

Overall: good

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Photo of nickd717
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle shared by largadeer, finally. Thanks, Chris! I waited quite awhile for this tick.

Pours very dark brown with a one-finger light beige head that leaves bubbly foam for awhile.

Very good aroma - typical of Firestone anniversary beers with caramel, roast, chocolate, oak barrel, vanilla, and bourbon.

The flavor is very nice, much better than I expected from people who have told me this beer has gone downhill. Toffee, chocolate, roasted malt, maple syrup, bourbon, oak, and vanilla.

A little thin on the palate, but there is nice soft carbonation and a good slick mouthfeel.

Good stuff, most similar to 12 off the top of my head, although I haven't tried them side-by-side.

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Photo of MrFootstones
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Vigorous pour yields an evanescent head which quickly recedes to wispy thin foam atop the beer. Murky brown until held up to the light, revealing a rich mahogany color with vibrant crimson highlights

S: Dried fruits, coconut, vanilla, grain, musty wood

T: Booze, vanilla, coconut, toffee, rum, raisins, old damp oak

M: Better than XII and XIII, despite the others being oatmeal imperial stout based. More rich and velvety. Great for this beer.

D: A complex and interesting sipper. This bomber took me a while to finish, but was nice the whole way through.

Overall: I would say a bit past its prime, though this is my first time having it. Delicious, but I daresay I enjoyed XII/XIII more.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.07/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks go out to Overlord for splitting this bottle with me. I was very excited to try this.

Pours a dark brown, with some carbonation. Smell is complex with bourbon, molasses, dark fruits and vanilla coming through. The taste was of bourbon, but not over powering, and molasses, and huge vanilla. As the beer warmed the vanilla flavor got increasingly strong, and took on a coconut flavor. Once I focused on the coconut flavor I couldnt taste anything else in the beer.

I couldnt see myself sitting down and drinking too many of these, but overall a great beer.

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Photo of tonistruth
4.07/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- deep brown brew with no visibility through to other side of glass, no real head just some tan foam

S- woody,bready, roasted malts, sweet

T- woody and barrels flavors throughout, mellow, toasted malts, oatmeal, chocolate and caramel, alcohol at finish

M- smooth medium body with carbonation and heat felt at finish

D- complexity that barrel aging adds is very enjoyable, very enjoyable, recommended

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

Here we go again, another blended collage of different barrel-aged ales. An Imperial Brown Ale, a continental Imperial Amber Ale and a Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout settle at 11% ABV and 42 IBUs.

No problem with head retention as the foam shoots up to two fingers and drops a blanket of lace on the glass. Deep rosewood color shows a faint haze. Thick aromas of vanilla, brandy, booze-soaked raisins with rich caramel, brown bread and faint baker's chocolate in the nose. Sublime smoothness with a very full semi-syrupy body, just enough crispness from the carbonation without getting in the way. Chocolate comes to mind first, then a barrage of wood and some alcohol kick in. Maltiness comes in with suggestions of caramel and toasted bread. Hops throw modestly against the huge malt presence but the alcohol and wood have no problem balancing everything out. Not a whole lot of fruitiness but some fig does come out; alcohol dangles a boozy mix of whiskey, bourbon and brandy on the palate. Finishes woody and semisweet.

We guess lightning can strike twice, but in this case from the same place. Firestone Walker is a pioneer of barrel-aging beers. Eleven shows a true blended character, the hype is already there so get your bottle now.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Special thanks to Henry for sharing this

A - Deep reddish-brown. Minimal head, nice lacing.

S - Complex. Oak, cherries, vanilla, and barrel mix together, with a noticeable booziness present. All mix to make it damn good. But, there is a slight cardboard smell.

T - Faint tastes of all the smells mentioned above mix together. There is a noticeable boozy aftertaste, and slight oxidation present, though it is hard to pickup.

M - Med boxy with mild carbonation. Booziness lingers on the tongue.

D - Overall this beer has held up very nicely, but it might just be on its way downhill. Drink 'em fast, or give 'em to me so I can drink 'em.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 rate.

Bottle. Pours deep, rich mahogany, very dark, with a ring of white head. Big, malty nose with rasisins, figs, some kind of chocolate syrup, and booze. Quite a bit more elegant in the mouth than the nose suggests. Leather, tobacco, and a subtle spiciness really tie it together. Like a bourbon barrel barleywine blended with an old, leathery stout. Very expressive flavor, alcohol heat is quite pleasant. I wish I had a cigar to smoke with this one. Not as good as the XIII.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.09/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to RoyMunson for cracking open this rare gem.
Pours brown in color with only a slight head at first. Smell is wonderful. You can definitely tell that the base majority of this beer is the imperial brown. Both in the smell and taste. Just the perfect amount of heaven hill barrel aging hits you in the taste. I don't think the brown is a big enough beer to be able to holdup against the onslaught of stout, porter and infusion from the barrels that hits it. A little thin on the mouthfeel. I was really looking forward to this beer, and from what I read on the paper insert the brewer provides, sounded mouthwatering. But I have to say, this may be one of those beers that fails to live up to the hype/demand.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hard pour produces an initially two-finger thick, light chocolate stained, tan colored head in my 25cl tulip glass. The beer sits in my glass a near black color with deep brown hues; when held up to the light it shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby color. Wow, what an interesting mix of flavors. I have never gotten such a distinctive note of coconut from a barrel influenced beer before; it is really quite nice and you would swear there was actual coconut added to this brew. There is lots of other things here as well though; aromas of vanilla, light cherry, brandy soaked dried fruit, hints of clove, bourbon-soaked vanilla beans, toffee malt, light chocolate, a backdrop of toasted grain / bread crust notes. Despite being so influenced by the various barrels, this beer is quite mellow and smooth for a barrel aged beer; it is really well integrated and a true sign of the blender's art.

Quite a bit sweeter and fuller tasting than the aroma might have suggested, but still quite in line with what I was expecting of this beer before I opened it. The barrel spirits are a touch more noticeable in the flavor than they were in the nose with the various whisky components being most noticeable, but also some fruity brandy notes towards the late middle, before some more spicy bourbon notes kick in for the lingering finish. A bit of alcohol warming is found in the finish as well. Coconut flavors play a role here as well, though not quite as distinctly as in the aroma. The coconut mixes with rich toffee flavors, distinct & rich vanilla flavors and a dark, concentrated fruitiness; this last reminds me of bourbon soaked dried fruit, the types one might use in a dense fruit-cake (though the fruit plays a soft, supporting role here).

The carbonation is not overly heavy here, but does provide a nice, persistent texture to this beer that just scrubs the tongue as it flows past, though not enough to really compete with the reasonably viscous body of this brew. Speaking of which, this beer is definitely not heavy for a beer of this strength, though it is most definitely a sipping brew. At times the finish takes on some bitter cocoa notes, though in a good way; just before this though can often be found a rich chocolate-cream character. As the beer warms up it really starts to pick us some interesting spiciness in both the aroma and flavor. It is hard for me to pick out individual components, but if I had to describe it I would say it is a mix of cinnamon, fenugreek, mace and allspice; these notes are all fairly subtle, but compliment nicely the mix of vanilla, molasses and fruit notes that are found in this beer. The sweet, light roasted chocolate notes really start to come to the forefront as the beer warms too.

A tasty beer, a bit more integrated than the 10, but only just barely. Still seems to be lacking in an intenseness, a richness and even a complexity that would be necessary to make this world class. Still it is an incredibly tasty brew, that really helps to showcase what can be accomplished with blending.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour courtesy of wethorseblanket at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a murky dark brown with a foamy tan head that fades to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. Taste is much the same with a woody finish on the aftertaste. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is pretty tasty and easy to drink.

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Firestone 11 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.41 out of 5 based on 247 ratings.
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