Napa Parabola
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Napa ParabolaNapa Parabola
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Stout - Russian Imperial
4.43 | pDev: 6.55%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
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: 67 | Ratings: 186 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by thebeers:
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thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Garnet-hued dark brown with a finger of dark mocha head. Leaves a beautiful, soupy wisp and crown, as well as some sloppy lacing.

Brownie batter, toasted chocolate malt and some jammy, light red wine in the nose.

Ash, semi-sweet bakers chocolate, berry jam and red wine in the taste. Hints of licorice, plum and tobacco make appearances also. Much darker and drier than the nose suggests, with bitter chocolate and ash lingering in the aftertaste.

Thick, chewy feel with just enough carbonation.

This is an excellent all-around beer. I’d love a cuvée with regular Parabola, as I think some vanilla or caramel bourbon notes would complement this perfectly.

Oct 04, 2019
More User Reviews:
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Mcooly from New Jersey

4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dec 21, 2019
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Herbabee from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Jun 10, 2019
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cp45 from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aug 09, 2019
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

4.46/5  rDev +0.7%
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
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user785335 from Florida

4/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oct 28, 2019
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Ssippisam from Minnesota

4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Jul 10, 2019
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.12/5  rDev -7%
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
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avalon07 from South Carolina

4.51/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Jun 26, 2019
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crobinso from Colorado

4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aug 11, 2019
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EMH73 from New York

4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

May 23, 2020
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kevindp9 from Arizona

4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sep 22, 2019
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.24/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 12, 2020
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.87/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Jul 23, 2019
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rab53 from Washington

3.82/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jul 30, 2019
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Zorro from California

4.97/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

May 25, 2019
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Fireman_RK from North Carolina

4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Jun 08, 2019
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JamesLeung from Florida

4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Aug 12, 2019
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puck1225 from Texas

4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
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!

Oct 27, 2019
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laketang from Arizona

4.6/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Aug 10, 2019
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mmoore9363 from Arizona

4.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Jul 24, 2019
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sd123 from Texas

4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Jun 28, 2019
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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

4.64/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Jun 05, 2019
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.96/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Jun 25, 2019
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GreenMind from Pennsylvania

4.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 21, 2019
Napa Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 186 ratings