Parabola
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

ParabolaParabola
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From:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #3
ABV:
13%
Score:
100
Ranked #45
Avg:
4.61 | pDev: 7.59%
Reviews:
1,439
Ratings:
5,745
Status:
Active
Rated:
Sep 16, 2022
Added:
Mar 26, 2008
Wants:
  3,181
Gots:
  3,832
SCORE
100
World-Class
ParabolaParabola
Notes: This Russian imperial oatmeal stout is aged for a full year in a blend of bourbon barrels from Elijah Craig, Four Roses, Pappy Van Winkle, Woodford Reserve, and Buffalo Trace.
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Rated: 4.91 by DrBass from Maryland

Sep 16, 2022
 
Rated: 4.46 by BLPasch from Michigan

Aug 07, 2022
Photo of cdinardo21
Reviewed by cdinardo21 from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2021 variant. Good viscosity on this. Great barrel. Just something missing on the back end. The beer pours very dark, with modest head, more than I was expecting. Nice aromas of chocolate, coffee & vanilla. I'd rate this above average, but expected more based on the ratings on here. Wouldn't run out to buy this again the way I searched this one out, but would gladly drink it if I was out and it was on tap or happened to be a bottle in the cooler.
Aug 04, 2022
Photo of lordofthewiens
Reviewed by lordofthewiens from New Mexico

4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
This beer is nearly black in color. There is a modest head that persists, and there is a little bit of lace.
Aroma of cherry, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and a little booze.
Cherry taste, but taking a back seat to chocolate fudge and espresso coffee. Some vanilla in the taste, and some bourbon.
A big, slow-sipping beer.
Jul 23, 2022
 
Rated: 4.06 by jslice99 from New York

Jul 23, 2022
Photo of BigIronH
Reviewed by BigIronH from Michigan

3/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
Pours a cola colored dark amber; lighter still that one might expect. A full 2 finger frothy mocha head. Nose is roasted malts, bitter coffee, and chocolate. Taste follows suit. Not much barrel character to speak of. Overall, average. 2022 vintage.
Jul 17, 2022
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Reviewed by Gwalchgwynn67 from New York

4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
Just opened a 2017 vintage.
Dark brown, almost black. So dark it absorbs the light! Thin head but maintains a lacy ring around the rim. Bourbon and coffee aromas, with flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, Bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar. Slightly oaky, but not overdone at all. Very thick and lingering finish. Good stuff.
Jul 16, 2022
 
Rated: 4.2 by j0hnc2468 from New York

Jul 08, 2022
Photo of Mdog
Reviewed by Mdog from Minnesota

4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
2021 bottle:

Appearance: Black, thin head.

Smell: Rich, chocolatety, boozy, wood, vanilla.

Taste: Really thick and coating right away. Big vanilla barrel note that transitions to rye spiciness. Chocolatety and mild sweetness. Kind of separates into beer and barrel factions before coalescing again by the end of the glass.

Overall: Sort of a whale for me, I've been wanting to try for years and finally FW sent some to MN. Very thick stuff, tasted great then kind of had an awkward phase of “here's beer” and “here's barrel” before coming back together as a unit. Tasty stuff!
May 28, 2022
 
Rated: 4.1 by LunchMoney from Minnesota

May 19, 2022
 
Rated: 4.65 by Sinister from New York

May 01, 2022
 
Rated: 3.56 by Affinity from Missouri

May 01, 2022
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Reviewed by Olesjm from Kansas

4.63/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
A: Inky black
S: brown sugar, coffee, chocolate, oomami (soy sauce?)
T: brown sugar, coffee, chocolate
M: thick
O: well it's not a Bourbon County but it's still pretty good.
Apr 22, 2022
 
Rated: 4.5 by akopczyk from Ohio

Apr 20, 2022
Photo of tradershmulie
Reviewed by tradershmulie from Connecticut

4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5
Picked up a few a while back - opened the first on a special occasion.

L - Nice pour, head not so thick, but hung around long enough to look nice and chewy.

S - Nothing noticeable.

T - Exquisite. Truly delicious. Deep, some sweetness, and excellent complexity of flavors. As compared to many other RIS, no bitterness at all, and not too sweet. Really great. ABV extremely well hidden.

F - As expected, smooth and easy to drink.

O - Definitely a world class beer.
Apr 06, 2022
Photo of Rug
Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.41/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Growler filled at Half Time in Mamaroneck on 3/26/22, 2022 vintage

Hooooooo boyyyyy. Parabola. Finally. We don’t see much FW here in Mass, but thankfully a trip to Philly found me at Half Time on the way back, where I ended up with this gem, as well as Perennial Abraxas! I’m so hyped to try this so let’s just get into it

Pours a very dark brown with a finger of creamy tan head that fades to a ring and leaves minimal lacing

This beer relies heavily on the bourbon barrels in the nose, with most of the complexity coming from them. I’m picking up on aromas of spicy whiskey, toasted oak, sweet vanilla, dark cherry, toffee, smoky tobacco, plum, milk chocolate, and toasted coconut

It is a bit less complex in taste, but I still think it’s just as good. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting dark cherry, dark chocolate, toasted oak, brown sugar, and sweet bourbon. The swallow brings notes of spicy whiskey, plum, toasted oak, coconut, roasty coffee, tobacco, and toffee

A medium full body pairs with gentle tingling carbonation, resulting in a thick and oily beer. Finishes mostly dry with a decent heat

This wasn’t mind blowing by any means, but it is pretty great. I grabbed a bottle from Half Time as well to cellar. Let’s see how this is holding up in 2 years
Mar 27, 2022
 
Rated: 4.15 by BombayDingleMonkey from Pennsylvania

Mar 27, 2022
 
Rated: 4.93 by joran from Kansas

Mar 26, 2022
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Reviewed by HeightPower

4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
* Note: I am a beginner and this is the first beer I've loved.

Rating the 2015 bottle I just had.

L: Almost black and pretty opague. Not too foamy.
S: Chocolate, cherries, and coffee or maybe espresso
T: My best way to describe this is that it tastes like someone poured bourbon or whiskey into a glass of red wine and mixed it with a chocolate bar-- but somehow some cherries fell in. Very strong,
F: Smooth and thick like I like my women.
O: This is so boozy and sweet without actually being too sweet like wine could be. Not sure how else to describe it. I took big sips but didn't rush it. I was so happy
Mar 21, 2022
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Reviewed by jackflaps from Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured the 2015 edition and it's now 2022, so I'll try and round these scores up where it makes sense since I think this is past its peak.

L: Very dark brown (won't call it black), tiny head that recedes quickly and with little lacing.
S: Raisins, roasty, some barrel.
T: All sorts of things happening. When colder it matches the nose; as it warms you get rich dark chocolate, a little vanilla, and some booziness as well.
F: Thick, smooth, dessert-like.
O: Definitely should have opened this a couple years earlier but it's still one of the greats.
Feb 21, 2022
 
Rated: 4.79 by infuturity from Massachusetts

Feb 14, 2022
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Reviewed by ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

4.42/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
L: Looks almost black, small, quickly receding kh!ki head, no lacing.
S: Snot locker gets some chocolate, dark fruit, fig or date maybe a bit of coffee and some leather. Kinky.
T: This is tasty, all of the aforementioned odors, some licorice, char and cherry.
F: Smooth, creamy, not much carbonation at all.
O: This is damn tasty and it certainly takes the chill oughta' these old bones.
Feb 10, 2022
 
Rated: 4.44 by gkrishnan704 from Connecticut

Jan 29, 2022
 
Rated: 4.5 by not2quick from Missouri

Jan 19, 2022
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Reviewed by Beginner2 from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
It is difficult for me to get as hyperbolic as the average ratings for Parabola. But that's OK; I'm an old man and a high ABV (13.6 on the 2020 vintage) no longer impresses me. But, this is a wonderfully smooth RIS and it was enjoyed after-dinner along with two friends. Another year cellared will take care of two rough edges: lingering hops; and a fuller melding of the dark fruit and chocolate, like the dessert that Parabola should supplant.

I am an enthusiast for FW and particularly how its owner (Duvel) is smart enough to let FW do its thing. But that is another story littered throughout enough of my reviews of the 7 other brewers Duvel owns; all I like to varying degrees.
Jan 16, 2022
Photo of NickSMpls
Reviewed by NickSMpls from Washington

4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
2019 vintage. Wonderful aroma of figs, coffee and anise. First sip is intense flavors of bourbon, followed with strong dark chocolate, licorice, and stone fruit. Long lingering finish, you do get a bit of alcohol hotness, but that comes with the territory. A truly world-class beer.
Jan 01, 2022
Photo of bluejacket74
Reviewed by bluejacket74 from Ohio

4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
12 ounce bottle, 2021 vintage. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head that stuck around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. I like the aroma a lot, the brew smells like bourbon, vanilla, roasted malt, dark fruit/cherry, toffee, chocolate and earthiness. I think the taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some oak, caramel, wheat, licorice, burnt/charred malt and rye. There's a lot going on here! Mouthfeel/body is full, it's slick, creamy and easy to drink with a moderate amount of carbonation. I thought this was a really good overall brew. Wish I would have bought more of this when I was able to, will definitely buy more the next time I can!
Dec 30, 2021
 
Rated: 4.75 by AshBlackstone from Florida

Dec 17, 2021
 
Rated: 4.81 by shagal from Canada (AB)

Nov 11, 2021
 
Rated: 4.64 by Kam from North Dakota

Nov 07, 2021
 
Rated: 4.6 by Quarantinehobby from Massachusetts

Oct 20, 2021
Photo of Resistance88
Reviewed by Resistance88 from California

5/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
R88 coming at you asshats real time
2022 Parabola at The Firestone Walker Propagator
On the nose is all Dark Roasted Espresso/ Cold Brew like Coffee , Dark Malts, Browned Sugar, Vanilla, Fresh Tobacco, And Heat from alcohol tickles ma nosehairs.
Taste is barrel heat up front, intense espresso , subdued organic Tahitian vanilla, that delicious belgian dark chocolate . All the shit that i consider to be a great BA Stoutm none of that 3 paragraph note shit.
Look is great. Mouthfeel is great
Overall 5/5 . Drink fresh cuz only dimwitt would age this
Sep 27, 2021
Photo of flagmantho
Reviewed by flagmantho from Washington

4.59/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip. This is the 2021 version, aged in bourbon, rye, and wheated whiskey barrels. It's hard to imagine I've gotten this far in my beer-drinking life and have never yet tasted any Parabola.

Appearance: entirely black with a finger and a half of thick, creamy dark-tan foam atop. Beers like this really have a head-start on looking good, don't they?

Smell: wood, malt, whiskey; maybe a little chocolate thrown in for good measure. There're notes of dark fruit as well, which you know I always love.

Taste: rich, that's for damn sure. There's dark cherry and raisin and date and prune, of course, but also just a bit of oak and whiskey that add an extra dimension to the fruit and sweetness and booze. Very, very good indeed. Really, very wonderful.

Mouthfeel: thick body with a good carbonation and plenty of smooth, rich creaminess.

Overall: you never know what you're walking into when it comes to a beer that has a big reputation, whether it's an oldie or something super hyped. This beer is just downright excellent.
Sep 16, 2021
Photo of ZenAgnostic
Reviewed by ZenAgnostic from Texas

4.93/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
12oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip. Picked up from liquor store for around $10-12. 2020 vintage No.11 printed on front label.

Appearance - Black opaque body with a small, brown, creamy one-finger head with decent to low retention, good lacing and stick. Head easily regenerates with a swirl. 4.75

Smell - Dark fruit. Plums. Very vinous, rounded out with some chocolate and roasted coffee character. 4.75

Taste - Absolutely incredible. Flawless. Balanced. Bold up strong dark characters upfront but mellows out into a slow, rich, robust journey to a perfect aftertaste. 5

Mouthfeel - Smooth, creamy. Warming. 5

Overall - No off characters whatsoever. 5
Sep 11, 2021
Photo of oldmankoch
Rated by oldmankoch from Tennessee

4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
One of the very best non adjunct BA Stouts
Sep 09, 2021
Photo of blazerkor
Reviewed by blazerkor from Nevada

4.96/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
There is depth to this that's pretty incredible.  I can smell licorice, bittersweet chocolate and musty whiskey barrel.

The taste is sweet with chocolate, cherry, wood and liquor.

It has a medium mouthfeel with a small amount of bubbly carbonation.  The finish starts complex with the licorice, chocolate and cherry, then fades to a long dry bittersweetness.

Wow, what a beer.  It's the most complex stout I've had but the flavors are never muddled; always clear.  I give it a 5.9 out of 6.
Sep 05, 2021
 
Rated: 4.5 by timmy2b from New York

Sep 05, 2021
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Reviewed by mikeg67 from New Jersey

4.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75
On tap at the brewery. Pours black with beige head. Body is full and smooth. Taste is of toasted malt, sherry, dark fruit, brown sugar, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, alcohol, herbal hops. Long almost dry finish. Delicious brew.
Aug 25, 2021
 
Rated: 5 by kblomseth from California

Aug 19, 2021
Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 7184 ratings