Napa Parabola
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Napa ParabolaNapa Parabola
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #37
Ranked #567
4.44 | pDev: 6.76%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
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.
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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 167 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Donco:
Photo of Donco
3.17/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

My own opinion: I don't understand the high ratings of this variant. One of the few beers I've drain-poured. I'll take the Parabola (regular version) any day which is far superior.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Mcooly
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Herbabee
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

When i found out about this particular varietal dropping in the shoppes, i was compelled to make a pretty special (25-30 mile) "beer run" - something i'd not at all have to do, were my palate favored to the always readily-grabbable macros and IPA's. Dedication, I tell ya.

The final analysis? I'd call it "interesting" in a way that appeals yet not feeling completely smitten with - still on the fence, you might say; its scarcity (only 3k cases bottled) not much allowing for an immediate rematch. As comparatively complex as any other F-W vintage of renown, just something curiously perfume-y or incense-like found in this initial quaff. Though i might prefer the straight-up Parabola, this was certainly worth a try and to allocate/preserve a few for the rainy-day cellar inventory.

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Photo of cp45
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of user785335
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Ssippisam
4.41/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Franziskaner
4.12/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
4.51/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark, mahogany brown color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, off white, somewhat long-lasting head. Not a whole lot of lacing.

S: A big, powerful aroma of malt, a vinous quality, chocolate, wood, berries, and brown sugar.

T: Tasted of a good shot of the vinous quality (red wine grapes), a good amount of brown sugar, a lot of malt (present throughout), lots of dark chocolate (a good addition), some raspberries, and a nice cherry tinge. This is a complex, powerful, and forceful flavor. It's remarkably well-balanced and goes down easy.

F: An average amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A well made, tasty stout. Drinkable.

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Photo of crobinso
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of kevindp9
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AyatollahGold
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of StoutElk_92
4.87/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a lasting creamy khaki tan foam head. Smells like berries, red apple, red wine, caramel, dark toffee, chocolate, grapes, red fruit, syrup, vanilla, oak, earthy tobacco, with a hint of spice. The taste is layered in waves of big chocolate, brownie batter, charred oak, red wine, rich vanilla, marshmallow, caramel, earthy tobacco, spice, vinous black grapes, dark berry notes, red fruit, dark toffee, dark fruits, mild hops, with roast and syrup. Feels medium bodied, smooth and creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a real great Napa red wine barrel aged imperial stout.

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Photo of rab53
3.82/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Zorro
4.97/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black colored beer with a medium sized brown colored head.

Wine barrel scent hits you from the instant you crack open the bottle. very fruity. Scents of brown sugar and oak with toasted bread. Scents of rum and cherry. Chocolate and burned brownie scents. Toasted coconut. Lesser scent of lime and grape. There is a fairly strong scent of tobacco leaf. Smells on the sweet side.

Starts out salty and sweet with the bitter bite of cocoa powder. Strong taste of rum and some numbing of the tongue. Big chocolate flavor and a secondary one of cherry. Mixed fruit taste as you palette adapts to the strong flavors. Mostly I taste cherry and lime. Big tastes of vanilla and oak. Taste of tobacco leaf from an old habit I quit after one summer. Slight taste of ash. This is a Big Beer and all the tastes are big.

Mouthfeel is super thick. You won't be chugging this one.

This is an awesome beer. Worth every bit of its high but affordable price. Best beer of the year and I don't really expect to find a better one this year.

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Photo of Fireman_RK
4.63/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of puck1225
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Exquisite beer!

Very dark brown color with a nice beige head and beautiful lacing. Dark chocolate smell and taste. Dark red wine flavors, rich hazelnut, slightly woodsy smokiness, very ripe dark cherries. Exceptionally smooth with a rich feel. A treat of a beer!

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Photo of laketang
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has the look of dark chocolate. Mocha head that quickly forms a ring. Slight fruit notes, wood, earth, grape jam, but no barrel funk from red wine. Dark chocolate, roast, cocoa powder, slight tangy notes. Medium feel, some lingering bitterness. Loved it and would recommend to stout lovers.

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Photo of mmoore9363
4.62/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of sd123
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AdmiralOzone
4.64/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a jet black with a thick mocha head that falls away quickly but leaves nice lacing. Aroma is wine barrel forward. Flavor is bitter dark chocolate, dark roasted malts and the fore mentioned wine barrel. I'm also getting some raisin and molasses in the finish. Feel is on the thicker side of medium bodied. Overall an incredible beer. I'll pick up one or two more if they're on the shelf when I return.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.96/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from a lazy dog.
Dark inky black in color with a small tan head with moderate retention. Rich roast and licorice with bits of sweet brown sugary maltiness and light jam like grape from the wine barrel. Not much in the way of oak or woody notes. Nice sipper, but I noted again how I have enjoyed the base beer much more on tap than in a bottle.

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Photo of GreenMind
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PappaSam21
4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

What a fantastic version if parabola, this is my new Favorite! Appearance is similar to regular parabola mabe slightly lighter. Nice carbonation and the mouthfeel is very nice. Taste is sweet and sticky, this parabola with the wine barrel aging to me soften it up and added more cherry and raisin plum flavors which I really love in a imperial stout. Just delicious it's very complex got pleasant bitterness and lots of chocolate notes.

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Photo of Viaduck
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

As expected, pours very dart with modest tan head. Very sweet aroma: dark chocolate & espresso. Taste is not as sweet as it’s aroma implies, a fair amount of bitter. Whereas there is harmony with Parabola & bourbon, it seems to clash a bit with the red wine but not continuously. Lots of interesting flavors & they seem to present themselves one at a time: chocolate,coffee, cherry,mocha, charred oak, tobacco & alcohol. There’s no harmony, there’s a battle of flavors going on here & it continues for a long time after swallowing. Feel is smooth as silk, thick with light carbonation. Overall I prefer regular Parabola. Napa Parabola is very different & odd. It fascinating how the aftertaste is constantly changing. At first sip I didn’t think I was going to like this but it’s flavors are intense & abundant.

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Napa Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 167 ratings