Napa Parabola
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Napa ParabolaNapa Parabola
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
From:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
ABV:
11.3%
Score:
97
Avg:
4.4 | pDev: 6.82%
Reviews:
67
Ratings:
130
Status:
Retired
Rated:
Nov 06, 2022
Added:
May 06, 2019
Wants:
  4
Gots:
  16
SCORE
97
World-Class
Napa ParabolaNapa Parabola
Notes: Fine wine meets a Firestone Walker legend with the inaugural release of Napa Parabola, a Russian imperial stout matured in French oak wine barrels from one of Napa Valley’s most prestigious cult wineries.
View: More Beers
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
 
Rated: 4.75 by admonster00 from Illinois

Nov 06, 2022
 
Rated: 4.48 by cd34 from Illinois

Mar 10, 2022
Photo of Furlinator
Rated by Furlinator from California

4.38/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
On tap at Aces & Ales Tanaya on 02/24/22.
Feb 25, 2022
 
Rated: 4 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Jan 17, 2022
 
Rated: 4.56 by rjp217 from Massachusetts

Oct 18, 2021
 
Rated: 4.31 by Boone757 from Virginia

Oct 08, 2021
 
Rated: 5 by steevo24 from District of Columbia

Sep 25, 2021
 
Rated: 4.34 by Dentist666 from Russian Federation

Aug 15, 2021
 
Rated: 4.44 by allenson21 from New York

Jul 17, 2021
 
Rated: 4 by dsshuck from Delaware

Jul 12, 2021
 
Rated: 3.49 by Ristaccia from Nebraska

May 10, 2021
 
Rated: 4 by BarrelAgedG from California

Apr 27, 2021
 
Rated: 4.1 by GOBLIN from Ohio

Apr 06, 2021
 
Rated: 4.14 by cjgator3 from Florida

Mar 13, 2021
 
Rated: 4.48 by StanleysCup from Maryland

Dec 25, 2020
Photo of CraftFan5
Reviewed by CraftFan5 from New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
20 December 2020 - Beer #217

Price: $12.99 at Ben's Bottle Shop in Vancouver, WA

Appearance: 5 - completely black. Not much head but tremendous lacing.

Nose: 5 - I get A LOT of wine barrel here. Smells fantastic but not like beer.

Taste: 3 - doesn't taste much like beer either. A lot of wine for sure, maybe some off taste on the back end. An odd beer.

Mouth: 4 - quite thick and chewy, but more carbonated than it should be.

Overall: 4 - not bad, but I guess the lesson is: don't put Parabola into wine barrels when other barrels are available.

Cheers!
Dec 24, 2020
Photo of mothman
Reviewed by mothman from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2019 vintage. Bottle. Tan head. Black color.

Lots of red wine notes. Oak and tannins. Red grapes and cocoa. Some roasted malts and chocolate. Oaky. Cocoa powder. Solid. Unique.
Dec 23, 2020
 
Rated: 4.44 by MickeyHops from California

Nov 27, 2020
 
Rated: 4.23 by BirdsandHops from Oregon

Nov 09, 2020
 
Rated: 4.23 by robotic_being from Florida

Oct 28, 2020
Photo of ryan1788a5
Reviewed by ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pitch black pour with a light brown head that settles after a time. Tiny spots of lacing.

S: Woody and roasty malt notes. Black cocoa powder and dark chocolate. Very vinous. Lots of black cherry and tart currant. Chocolate covered cherries. Mildly oaky.

T: Very sweet on the attack, with bombastic top notes of rich dark caramel with sea salt, chocolate fudge chews, and butterscotch. Some drying malt notes of French roast coffee ride up mid-palate. Vinous influence Takes over middle to end. Dark fruits abound in the form of cassis and black cherry. Blackberries too. The lovely malt character melds beautifully to creat the sensation of chocolate covered fruit. This is the finish.

M: Rich and thick body. Chewy with a sense of weight. Mild prickling carbonation. Faint alcohol warmth.

O: This beer bears the Parabola name, so expectations were naturally high. I’m happy to report that it delivers. I’m no oenophile, but the wine coming from these barrels tastes pretty top-notch, and somewhat surprisingly, the beer feels just as at home in these barrels as it does in the usual bourbon barrels. All the complexity you could want is here too. It’s every bit as good as the original, and I’m loving the fresh new approach.
Oct 27, 2020
 
Rated: 4.25 by MTKATL from Georgia

Sep 28, 2020
 
Rated: 4.49 by InfernoBoss from California

Sep 12, 2020
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.66/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
12oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours jet black in color with a one-finger creamy dark khaki head that has good retention before settling into a ring

S- roasted and charred malts up front quickly succumb to huge barrel aromas; vinous red wines, dark cherries, blackberries, raspberries, plumbs vanilla and oak. Undertones of tobacco, leather, anise, dark chocolate & caramel

T- flavor up front immediately gives way to the barrel character; bold red wine gives flavors of cherries, blackberries, figs, raisins & plums, as well as some anise, vanilla and peppery oak. The base beer adds dark chocolate, caramel, charred malt and tobacco. The finish gives strong, equal parts red wine and charred malt

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a velvety, slightly warming finish

O- as I expected, the dark fruity notes of the red wine barrels are a perfect compliment to the roasty, chocolaty notes of the base beer, outstanding
Jul 24, 2020
 
Rated: 4.25 by Nichols33 from Massachusetts

Jul 23, 2020
 
Rated: 4.43 by QuakeAttack from California

Jul 05, 2020
Photo of StonedTrippin
Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
i knew this would be good, and it definitely lives up to the hype, a very cool version of this iconic stout aged in red wine barrels. the beer is a pretty and luxurious dark chocolate brown, quite viscous but not scary thick, with a short and lasting dense mocha head from the bottle. the price tag is still on this, just ten bucks, a screaming hot deal, i love how fair that is for something so special! it smells like parabola, i hate when a nice base beer is obscured or overrun with its barrel or adjuncts characteristics and is unrecognizable, but that is not the case here, this is still parabola in all its glory, dark cocoa, subtle vanilla, wet earth, a light char element, and a regal smoothness in texture. these wine barrels do contribute a lot though, some nice dried berry vibes through most of it, black cherry and blackberry, a richness and a little sugar sure, but i think its less sweet than bourbon barrels, and i like the little bit of tannic quality in the finish, it almost seems to lighten this up while also making it more unique and dynamic. still a ton of wood here, and there is all the mellow richness that it adds. the fruit layer is cool, its not overly vinous, and there is a sort of chocolate covered fruity thing happening with the dark grain that i really like. a little bitter espresso note hangs on the palate after each sip. a lovely variant of this classic, setting a high standard for price and quality too, i loved this!
May 27, 2020
 
Rated: 4.5 by EMH73 from New York

May 23, 2020
Photo of hoptheology
Reviewed by hoptheology from California

3.56/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25
12 oz bottle poured into Crane snifter.

Deep silky inky black with a 1/2 finger of beige head, receding to a fingernail. Very wet looking.

Aroma is of black licorice, molasses, port barrel, caramel, and fudge.

Flavor brings grass, dirt, pine, caramel, sweat socks, dry cacao, tannic blackberry wine, oak, and more dirt on the finish. It is just far too bitter and dirty to be enjoyable. It is a huge beer, yes, but it tastes like a Tide commercial.

Feel is slick and full, creamy, hot, viscous, very dry on the back half nearly to annoyance.

Overall, Parabola has flew a bit below the radar for me in the past, and this didn't do much to help it. I can't finish this one. Nearly half a bottle left that I don't feel like finishing, and price/trade value considered this one really sucked.
Apr 14, 2020
 
Rated: 4.5 by Gkruszewski from New York

Apr 12, 2020
 
Rated: 4.25 by TylerJ from Iowa

Apr 07, 2020
Photo of stortore
Reviewed by stortore from Illinois

4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
12 ounce bottle into a snifter. 2019 release, had 10/9/19.

Pours near black and opaque, with a quarter inch foamy, fizzy looking head and some foamy cling. Aromas of roasted malt, char, chocolate, vanilla, tobacco, light wine, light cherries, some oak. Flavors of roasted malt, some wine, vanilla, oak, cocoa, some chocolate, some tobacco, light caramel, a hint of cherries. Tastes a little jammy. Smooth, somewhat creamy, a great full body, well carbonated.

Certainly delicious, but surprised the wine barrels aren’t a little more noticeable. Great aroma, terrific flavor. Very enjoyable.
Mar 30, 2020
Photo of q33jeff
Reviewed by q33jeff from New Jersey

4.49/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
**
03/27/2020

Bottle to snifter. Sampling with Parabola and XXIII.

Very interesting take on Parabola. Aroma and Taste suffer a tad, but the finish has a distinct sweetness and mustyness that is different. Light wine notes of grape apple and maybe a touch of blueberry.

The smoothness and finish is amazing. A clear Improvement over Parabola which I already had at 4.75, so a 5 for mouthfeel is in order here.

I prefer the standard Parabola, but its close and I can certainly see someone with different palate than mine feeling the opposite.

Great experience.
**
Mar 27, 2020
 
Rated: 5 by TheWyatt from California

Mar 22, 2020
Photo of Franziskaner
Reviewed by Franziskaner from Missouri

4.12/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Black in color with no penetration to light. There’s a quarter inch of densely packed brown on top. The aroma is of dark roasted barley with notes of merlot. I’m tasting a blast of dark roasted barley and a hint of Cabernet. The mouth is thick and chewy.
Mar 07, 2020
Photo of tigg924
Reviewed by tigg924 from Massachusetts

4.79/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
Had on tap. Pours opaque, dark brown in color with 1/5 inch head. Taste is dark cherry, barrel, char, and a touch of vanilla. Heavy bodied, sweet, roasty, with low carbonation. The beer really opens up as it warms. I am largely over barrel aged beers, but when Firestone Walker does it, they are in a league of their own. This lives up to their reputation and the red wine character adds pleasant notes to an exceptional base beer. Worth seeking out.
Mar 02, 2020
Photo of Damian
Reviewed by Damian from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Drank from a 12 fl. oz. (355ml) bottle purchased at BevMo! (Burbank), Burbank, CA
2019 Vintage No. 001
Served in a snifter

Thinner bodied, dark brown/black appearance. This looked more like a porter than an imperial stout. The liquid was capped by a small film of caramel colored bubbles that quickly broke apart. A medium halo encircled the liquid. Small, odd shaped patches of lacing trickled along the glass.

Really pleasant aroma. Dry and yeasty initially. After a minute or so, rich chocolate notes appeared. Sweet and fudgey. Lots of brown sugar and vanilla too. Perhaps some dark fruit notes. Roasted malts were also detectable. Good amount of oaky barrel character as well. As the beer sat, the chocolate and vanilla notes intensified. Powdered cocoa came to mind.

Solid flavor profile. The chocolate really came through strong here as well. Semisweet chocolate to be precise. Rich and fudge-like. Malty and robust on the front end. Nice blending of roasted and caramel malts. Brown sugar was noticeable in the center. Intense ashy notes appeared on the back end and lingered after the swallow. There was a big, bitter, leafy hop presence as well.

Nice creamy, fuller bodied mouthfeel. Slick and smooth on the palate. The liquid contained a medium bubbled, moderate effervescence.

I used to really enjoy Firestone Walker’s stouts, barleywines and strong ales, but they seem like a relic from the past these days. While the aroma on this beer was solid, the mouthfeel was somewhat thin, the finish was far too roasty and bitter, and the overall wine presence was minimal at best. I am glad these barrel-aged beers come in smaller format bottles now because I would be disappointed if I dropped $20 on a bomber of this.
Feb 23, 2020
 
Rated: 4.28 by jvillefan from California

Feb 14, 2020
 
Rated: 4.2 by TrojanRB from Texas

Feb 10, 2020
 
Rated: 4.5 by crob3888 from California

Feb 08, 2020
Napa Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 197 ratings