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Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 14.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by largadeer on 03-26-2008

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Reviews: 1,174 | Ratings: 6,199
Photo of mulder1010
2.96/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes
Thanks to Mr Kennedy for opening this
Bomber poured into a tulip

A-- Poured black, one finger light brown/ sugar cane colored head. Decent retention. Little bit of spotty lacing, visible alcohol legs and bits of spotty lacing.

S-- Sugar. Lots of sugar. Very little barrel notes, what was there was faint and short lived. Vanilla and coconut were faint and fleeting. More coffee and roasted malts mixed with lots of sugar.

T-- Sweet dairy milk, sugar, more sugar. Somewhat thick and smooth.

M-- Feel and carbonation are perfect. Good body. Sugar is much more toned down in the feel and more about chocolate and malts. Have to note had BA Yeti before having this and the barrel notes in BA Yeti were much more obvious in every respect.

O-- Decent sweet beer. was it really aged in a barrel?? That was my biggest question. Bottle says so, so I have to concur. Really disappointed but as a straight RIS it was OK.

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Photo of ubufan2112
2.98/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled in 2011
Poured into a 6oz tasting glass.

A: Dark molasses color, opaque, with a minimal head that faded very quickly.

N: The smell was quite captivating. Dark fruits, caramel, chocolate, coffee and a hint of fig pudding.

T: Expecting to find the same qualities here as in the nose, I was quite let down. I found the taste to be rather one dimensional. All I could get from this beer was dark roasty malt and chocolate. I got none of the Bourbon barrel nuances that were present in the nose. Bummer.

M: As expected, a very big bodied beer, but again I was let down by the finish or lack there of.

O: Not a bad RIS, but in no way does it stand up to its hype, IMO. It just didn't work for me, too one dimensional. I kept going back to it, not because it was so good, but because I truly wanted to find something I liked in the beer, but alas there wasn't much to be found. Maybe my other bottle will fare better with a little age on it.

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Photo of Trulyamazing
3.03/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This beer confused me. All the hype I've read had me expecting something different. This is just too intense for me. Maybe years from now my pallet will develop to like this one. I love imperial stouts. In fact I prefer them, but there is something going on with this that I couldn't even finish it. Funny thing is, I think I'm the only one.

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Photo of HoppyDazed
3.11/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

To start I am trying the 2014 vintage and I admit that stouts aren't my preferred style, but I do like trying new things and I do attempt to expand my horizons. That being said, I just didnt really care for this. I found it overwhelmingly sweet. My first sip I immediately get the bourbon, followed by chocolate. The oak and coffee begin to creep in after a couple of sips but sweetness is dominate. The mouth feel is a bit heavy for my preference, but not off-putting necessarily. I can appreciate the number of flavors and the balance of those flavors but this is just not for me. Kind of reminds me a little of a barley wine, maybe I'm way off on that, I dont know. I would say if you know you dont like this style but you are trying it because of the hype (like I did) then save your money and save the bottle for someone that will enjoy it.

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Photo of groovejackson
3.32/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - What you would expect....complete black...looks good!

Smell - Not overpowering....some currents...some toffee.

Taste - The first and lasting impression is twizzlers. You could think of it as wine but It's a bit medicinal...not in a good way. Alcohol is nicely hidden. I do taste some vanilla and wood as well.

Mouthfeel - nice and smooth....luxurious.

Overal - I was so excited about this one but I have to say I'm disappointed. The synthetic fruit is overpowering and I think it is just not my cup of tea. I really prefer a more cocoa and coffee profile in my Imperial Stouts. I'm glad I tried it but I don't think I'll be getting it again.

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Photo of tewaris
3.33/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Batch # 1 poured into a New Belgium balloon. Thanks Frank!

Jet black with a sheet of dark brown bubbles for the head. Hardly any lacing but the beer itself clings to the glass sip upon sip. Certainly "strong" looking.

Aroma is mostly vanilla and bourbon. Some alcohol here and there, nothing fusel though. Taste is signature -bal stout: slightly sweet with notes of vanilla, slightly acidic with a powerful roasty and woody finish and lingering roast on the palate. While not a coffee stout, the aftertaste is very close to chewing on a roasted coffee bean.

Certainly warming in its strength with a medium body among similar examples. The carbonation is too high for my liking. Another flaw, in my opinion, is the excessive wood. Whisky sits in a barrel to get mellow; the effect of barrels on this beer seems to be the exact opposite. Not that I mind an intense beer but Parabola sometimes feels like wood and vanilla, and nothing more.

4, 3.5, 3.5, 2.5, 3

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Photo of pmccallum86
3.33/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a super deep and dark black color with a small bubbly cocoa colored head. The color here is very dark, this beer looks awesome.

Smell is very woody, almost like a campfire. Looks of dark and bitter chocolate aromas as well.

Taste is unlike any other beer I have ever had, very big, rich, and woody. Lots of barrel flavors come through here with a light bourbon burn on the finish. This beer seems a little messy right now, it is very dry, it tastes like I am sucking on wood.

Big, full, and rich mouthfeel. Medium carbonation, a little hot on the finish. Very dry, something seems off.

Overall kind of a disappointing beer. I won't be seeking it out again.

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Photo of Jayli
3.35/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from beerbeerbeerbeer so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!

Consumed 4/19
Poured in to my Portsmouth snifter

A: This beer pours an opaque deep brown with a one finger brown head. Head recedes quickly leaving small spots of lacing.

S: Nose is sweet, toffee, molasses, brown sugar and a bit of roast.

T: Taste starts with a sweet vanilla and toffee flavoring. Middle has a roastiness where a hefty dose of alcohol flavoring takes over. Helloooo bourbon! More oaked vanilla notes and bitter bakers chocolate are present in the background.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, a bit thin and slightly prickly.

O: Goes down alright, somewhat tasty, somewhat filling, decent kick, ok representation of style. I was really looking forward to this beer, and although it's not undrinkable, I would opt for others of the style. Perhaps aging a bit would enhance this beer.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.35/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Revision on 11/5/2011: Batch 001 has simply fallen off a cliff. Less heat, but simpler flavors. I am no longer optimistic about Batch 002 improving. In fact, I'm disappointed: a recipe change that results in a beer I don't particularly enjoy fresh, and it doesn't age into something I enjoy later? Time to be honest with my score. I honestly don't plan to buy Batch 003.


Batch 002 review from 6/7/2011.

A: Pours a dark brown body (I'd call it an opaque black, but some light penetration at the edges makes it evident that that's not quite right). A finger of tan head leaves a nice collar on the edges. No lace.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, earth, licorice, tobacco. Bourbon is muted. In reading over my comments for the previous batch, I'm surprised by how much the impressions are the same. They seem to have dialed in the recipe. It's a little hoppier than I remember from last time, though.

T: Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, and an earthy, borderline green hoppy bitterness (Willamette?). The flavors work fairly well together, but I've never been a huge fan of bitterness in my barrel-aged imperial stouts, and I confess that I find it a distraction here. Flavors of tobacco and charred oak only accentuate the bitterness. Bourbon, licorice, and a mild presence of dark fruits (plums) are pleasant, as is the vanilla on the finish, but those are all weaker elements. There's a light spicy bite in the aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied with low carbonation. It's creamy. Bitterness lingers on the palate. It's a little warm as far as ABV goes, with a bite to it.

O: It's merely good right now. I suspect it will become better with time as the bitterness fades, but truthfully, I'm not that enthused about it. I wish they would use the old keg recipe.


Old review of Batch 001: 4 / 4 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 4.0

Chilled bottle into a glass. Split with the girlfriend, who is becoming a connoisseur of expensive barrel-aged stouts.

A: Pours a dark, not fully opaque, black body in the glass, with a finger of short-lived mocha head. Edge penetration shows ruby colors.

S: Dark chocolate and roasted coffee in equal strengths, when cold. As it warms, the aroma gets more balanced brings out tobacco, earth, light anise, light bourbon, oak.

T: The taste is big, but balanced (or at least, not as overwhelmingly bourbony as so many other barrel-aged impy stouts). The base beer shines through first in dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavors. The barrel kicks in later with a contribution of bourbon, tobacco, charred oak, vanilla. I pick up anise at times, but it's very light. I pick up some dark fruits lingering faintly behind all this, but I can't tell what they are. There is an underlying earthy bitterness that works well with the tobacco and oak to counteract the sweet flavors; at no point do I feel this beer is cloying. Parabola actually reminds me a lot of the 50/50 Eclipse (Heaven Hill).

M: Full-bodied in flavor, though the body isn't uber-viscous. Low carbonation, giving it an overall coating, creamy presence.

D: I paid $16, which is a fair price for a stout of this caliber. I would go no higher, though. I think some of the tannic and bitter flavors could stand to be toned down a bit, but I'm sure if I wait a few months the beer will hit its sweet spot for me. Right now it's not in the top-tier of barrel-aged stouts, but it's just on the cusp.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.39/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle of Batch #004 served chilled into an unlabeled snifter today, 8/22/2013. Have had this once before but since I'm at home enjoying it on my own, might as well write a complete review.

Pours a dark caramel brown colour, certainly not black but not far from it either. Its got a nice fluffy, bubbly light tan head that dissipates quickly into a bubbly collar, not much in way of film on the surface. Not much lacing to speak of which is fairly typical for a stout like this.

Its got a coconut and chocolate smell coming right out of the snifter. There's a kind of a sticky bourbon sweetness that reminds me of marshmallows, though that's not particularly strong here compared to say, BVDL or Rare. There's some deep flavours murking around here- maybe some toffee, a little bit of oak- but its kind of a mess right now where I can't really pick out one thing. There is a little bit of fusel here as well, unfortunately, which I am not a fan of.

Sipping this beer gives me a nice sweet twang straight up. It's that sweet bourbon. Its heavy on it. Then there's a bit of coconut, vanilla overlying it along with a bit of chocolate. But there really doesn't seem to be as much contribution from the base beer if that makes sense. I don't get the nice sugary chocolatey sweetness of Bourbon County or Black Note, nor is there that roast maltiness or the vanilla-ey creaminess of Assassin or Rare. It tastes like mellowed-out sweet bourbon with a splash of chocolate and tobacco, to be honest. Its not as complex as people make it out to be, in my opinion.

Disappointingly thinner body, on the medium body side. It doesn't have that creamy mouthfeel that you get with Bourbon County for example, but it is rather smooth. Carbonation is just right for the style and the aftertaste is of that sweet bourbon. A decent bit of booziness here, but not enough to deter me here. Its absolutely a sipper here.. not meant for pounding.

Overall, a very good barrel-aged imperial stout that's relatively readily available on the shelf at a solid price point. It showcases the bourbon, but not as well as a beer like Central Waters' Fifteen does.. but then again this is a shelf beer! I guess that "showcasing bourbon" thing is not enough to impress me these days.. plenty of BA stouts do a good job of that already. I just would like the base beer to stand out more in these types of beers. Otherwise, you might as well splash some bourbon in a non-BA stout. That being said, it's a good example of a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout so don't let my opinion prevent you from trying this beer. It's certainly worth drinking anytime.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reserve Series No 003. 2012. 1 pint 6 fl oz (650ml) brown glass bottle with papered-over pressure cap served into a glassform bubbled pilsner glass in me friend Brendan's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given this beer's reputation.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a one finger head of slight tan colour, mocha soft cream, good thickness, and great retention for the 12.50% ABV. Colour is a solid nontransparent black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Predictable for the style, but nevertheless appealing.

Sm: The aroma's starting to get me more interested. Cream, vanilla, chocolate, moderately heavy oak, hints of roast, a light hint of booze, unwelcome caramelization, and unwelcome caramel. The oak distracts from the general tone of the beer. I'm a bit concerned about the oats, and I worry they'll make the mouthfeel too porter-like. A moderate strength subdued aroma. Not at all the bold flavours you'd expect from the style, but I'm hoping that's indicative of subtlety rather than restrained character.

T: Oak-laden, with nicely balanced caramel and hints of vanilla & chocolate. Nice dark malts comprise the foundation. Slight yeast comes through. Where's the roast? The style demands roast and it just isn't present. Certainly not a unique or special beer. It's a touch too sweet. The sugars used seemed simple and predictable. Built pretty close to the style; it lacks experimentation or boldness as a result. Some decent layering and subtlety, but not particularly complex for the style. I detect slight plum after suggested. Structurally indistinct; the first, second, and third acts are not clear and divisive but rather vague and poorly managed. It's good, but I'm far from impressed with it. The alcohol comes through as it warms.

Mf: Smooth - overly so for the style (even considering the oats). Tries too hard to have porter-like smoothness. Would be better with coarseness (ideally from roasted barley) to coax out the flavours. Not dry enough either, instead offering only jarringly overdone wetness. Adequately carbonated. Moderately heavy on the palate. A touch too thin.

Dr: Drinkable for the ABV - which is hidden alright. The expectations created by its high ratings and hype are certainly not met. This has been done similarly - and better - before many times There's nothing special or unique here. Pretty pricey for the disappointing quality. I expected great and got pretty good. I might try this on draught, but having now had most of Firestone Walker's beers (including Sucaba) I know that I oughtn't to get me hopes up.



Revisited this on-draught because I kept seeing it hyped in the forums. Truncated review below. 17cl for $7.00.

A: 3 finger head, creamy, nice soft complexion, great thickness. Damn good (~10 minute) retention. Opaque black body colour.

Sm: Marshmallow, dark malts, chocolate malt, vanilla, cream. Lovely bourbon barrel notes including subtle vanilla and oak. No alcohol is detectable. Lovely aroma overall. No yeast or hops is/are detectable. Way better than the bottled form.

T: Syrupy, with molasses and marshmallow. Nice cream on the climax. Boozy. Chocolate malt, dark malts. The barrel notes hardly come through at all; no evocative vanilla or oak here. Very low flavour duration; it's brief and then it's gone. Timid intensity (save for the alcohol); shockingly restrained, to its detriment. Balance is off. The absence of roast is regrettable.

Mf: Nice creaminess, thickness, and carbonation. Smooth and wet. Strange presence on the palate; comes off somewhat artificial. Doesn't feel custom-tailored to the flavour profile.

Dr: Drinkable the high ABV, but quite pricey. Underwhelming overall compared to the hype. It's a decent beginner's imperial stout with timid barrel character, but timid and restrained does not equate to subtle and well integrated. I revisited this in good faith, but it's just not remarkable enough to justify its reputation or its high ratings. The barrel notes in particular are lacking compared to top beers in the style.

Low B-

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.47/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2010 Bottle Release; Sampled April 2012
A vigorous pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a dense, darkly browned, fat-two-finger thick head. The beer is an inky black color that shows perhaps a hint of color around the edges when held up to the light, but remains ominously opaque. The aroma smells of hot alcohol, and Bourbon soaked fruit as I pour this, a closer inspection yields lots of barrel and bourbon influences and, at first blush, only a touch of toasted malt character. The barrel / bourbon character is fairly smooth, considering the 13% abv, with lots of burnt sweetened coconut, ample vanillin, touches of spicy oak, and lots of toasted character that supports the toasted malt. The malt character is here, especially as my nose gets used to the barrel influence that was so dominant at first; aromas of sweetened, concentrated black malts, touches of char, cold espresso, and lots of roasted nutty notes. Interestingly enough, the barrel character is dominant at first, but once your really start to dig in for an extended time, the malt aromatics come to dominate and almost completely consume the Bourbon notes; in the end this ends up well balanced between the barrel character and the dark malt character & is quite a bit more enjoyable than my first impression left me with. As the beer warms up it can be a touch hot smelling, which certainly detracts a bit, but isn’t a deal killer for my enjoyment of the aroma.

Thick, rich, and viscous, this beer is most definitely a sipping beer; it isn’t as dense, or cloying as something like Darklord, but certainly is a meal in a glass. The beer isn’t as sweet as it could be, and much of the sweetness that is here is a complex, concentrated, roasted caramelization, rather than simplistic, cloying sweetness; this definitely escapes being cloying. Big, bitter, burnt, roast notes linger on the palate in the long finish; after some time the finish sees my first flavor influence from the barrel with some softer Bourbon-fruit notes (alcoholic melon more than anything), as well as some spicy oak notes and an astringency and alcohol warmth accentuating barrel character. Now that I have noticed the Bourbon character it is quite a bit more noticeable throughout the flavor profile. A rich nutty note, that is definitely on the roasted side of things, flavors the middle and finish of each sip. Vanillin flavors as well as notes of toasted coconut (in that order of noticeability) accentuate the sweetness in the middle of each sip. There is a sweet, somewhat concentrated, coffee syrup like note here that is a product of the ample residual malt and the roasted grains. The beer can be a touch hot and in my second pour the carbonation really seems to accentuated the spicy / hot Bourbon notes over the base, Imperial Stout; this is definitely much more enjoyable with a lighter carbonation. Once I swirl out a bunch of the carbonation a roasted cocoa and dark chocolate note start to come out.

I like that this isn’t overly Bourbon influenced, it is a bit hot & boozy in the end, but what can you expect from a 13% beer. Still, this does achieve a fair amount of balance in the end and is a nice way to cap off a long day; though I certainly wouldn’t want to try and finish off a whole 22oz bottle.

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Photo of beertunes
3.47/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I know that this is a highly rated and sought after beer, but for me, it just didn't meet the hype. It was the expected black, but had no head. The aroma was subdued to the point of blandness. Some grainy malt, a whisper of roast and a solid alcohol scent.

The flavors weren't any bolder or more well-defined. The body was decent although much thinner than typical, which did help with drinkability. Overall, a good but not great beer. A relative disappointment from FW, a brewery I think very highly of.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.48/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Kevin for sharing this!

A- Body is big, thick, opaque and black. Pours with a soapy light brown head, which fades quickly, to a thin collar and leaves behind little lacing in the glass.

S- Nose is all about the bourbon barrel. Very woody, quite boozy, with a mild cocoa and bourbon sweetness.

T- Upfront is a big dose of roasted chocolate malt-which isn't present in the nose really at all and a pleasant surprise in the flavor. There is also a lot of oak and some bourbon. The alcohol becomes prominent for the finish in both flavor and heat.

M- Body is fairly heavy with a moderate weight and a lot of astringent alcohol consistency.

D- This brew, much like the full sail BBL stout, showcases the aspects of the barrel rather than the stout itself. Nothing wrong with that-but I prefer more balance. Its a decent, above average brew overall.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, 2012 version. Pours dark brown black with a small light brown head that quickly diminishes to a thin film that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is grainy dark chocolate malts with some lactose and dark fruits and some sharp alcohol.

The flavor is sweet grainy chocolate malts, dark fruits with some roast and quite a bit of vinous alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, it reminds me of Old Viscosity. I remember this being better than this sample. It's in your face and not really well balanced. Too sweet and treacly at times, and the alcohol is too sharp for me. It's still a good beer though.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pt 6 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a jet black color with a light tan, thin head of one finger. Retention is decent, especially given the high ABV. Inviting, if a bit standard.

S - Earthy oak notes dominate over a strong but pleasant roasted malt body. Cream and caramel are present. Spicy ethanol on the back. I like the oak on the nose, though I think it hides some of the fine, subtle notes.

T - General oak notes are dominant. Surprisingly sweet. Restrained roasted malts are countered nicely by cream and lactic notes. All of the flavors are a bit subdued, in my opinion, and the alcohol is very present, even bordering obtrusive. Weak plum on the finish.

M - Full bodied, thick and coarse on the finish. Definitely boozy.

D - A good beer, though it's a bit restrained and I'm disappointed by it given the hype. Not memorable or unique.

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Photo of alexhahn82
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured pitch black like Vin Diesel into over sized "Balloon" wine glasses, 1 finger head that dissipates at a medium pace.

S. Coffee, Toffee, Vanilla, Chocolate.

T/M - Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, Chocolate, Toffee, slight vanilla, almost no hint of bourbon flavor on its own, though you can tell its in there. Thick and rich bodied, reminded me of Black Gold BBL.

Overall - I am not sure about the hype on this one, don't get me wrong its good, and should age very well. I prefer a bit more presence of bourbon on something aged in bourbon barrels.

PP (Price Point) -- I paid a $5 premium on the bottle, it should have been around $15 but I paid $20 and snagged 3 bottles. I will probably get a few more for trading but as I said didn't really live up to the hype to me, though it was an excellent beer, only slightly above average for the style.

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Photo of guityler83
3.54/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2012 Vintage

A: poured with vigor into a snifter glass, the beer produced a finger of tan head composed of mixed bubbles. The foam sustained for about a minute before receding and left a layer of larger sized bubbles in the center with a ring around the edge. Streaky lacing when the carbonation is kicked up and medium alcohol legs are visible. The beer is opaque black with just a hint of dark brown when the carbonation kicks up on the top.

S: When the cap was cracked there was already an oak aroma seeping from the bottle. In the glass, big dark chocolate, coffee and molasses aroma. Vanilla and oak, with caramel and toffee notes are moderate in strength. Sweet impression overall with bourbon noticeable but no ethanol or harshness. Some mild citrus hop notes are also coming through surprisingly.

T: Lots of complexity from the malts - dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, molasses very upfront followed by caramel, vanilla, smoke, tobacco and roast. I get an interesting chocolate malt flavor as the beer warms up that reminds me of tasting pale chocolate malt in a homebrew shop – oxidation?. The barrel isn't as dominant in the flavor as the nose would lead me to believe, but there is some oak, vanilla and toffee notes mixed with light bourbon. No hop flavor and the bitterness is subdued.

M: Moderate alcohol warming, the beer drinks like its a 12%. Carbonation is mild to low with a big body like you'd expect from the style. There is some tingling on the lips/tongue from the bourbon.

O: I have to wonder if this beer isn't in the greatest shape given it's scores and reputation. Granted it has some age on it, if cellar'd decently that should have mellowed out some of the harsher qualities. However the malt/roast flavors coming through to me seem stale and or oxidized. Maybe I need to try a fresher example so I can give it a higher score but as it stands.. it didn't do so hot. CW16 is still my favorite BA Stout - I'll stick to that while I have a few left

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Photo of Dubber55
3.56/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage
I have been aging this for about 6 months

Pours a viscous pitch black with 1/4 finger of mocha colored head. A little bit of spotty lacing on the glass.

First thing I notice in the aroma is a metallic smell- must be from the hops. Upon further inspection, I get lots of barrel aromas- oak, vanilla, charcoal- followed by caramel, chocolate, and a little coffee.

Parabola is very rich and decadent. Feels like a meal in glass and I am drinking the whole bomber by myself. Very sweet- the flavors are dominated by vanilla, caramel, maple syrup, and milk chocolate. There is also plenty of oak in the flavor profile along with a bit of coffee and bourbon on the finish. I wouldn't say it is boozy though.

Mouthfeel is pretty slick, oily, and creamy. Somewhat chewy but, a little thinner than some other barrel aged stouts I have had.

Overall, too sweet to finish the whole bomber myself.

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Photo of MrKennedy
3.58/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, batch 002, huge thanks to nataku00! Shared with mulder1010 and poured into a Triple Karmeliet tulip.

Pours a deep brown/black with a tan coloured head of foam that formed up well when agitated and left a bit of dripping lacing as it receded into a crown around the edges of the glass.

Smell was very sugary, took a while for toasted coconut to appear and when it did it was lovely, but only stayed around for a couple of minutes, before the sugar came back.

Taste was cane sugar, plenty of it. Very sweet and one dimensional. Not a lot of barrel could be detected. This surprised me given the world of flavours i've come across in some of their other big beers like 13 and Abacus.

Mouthfeel was ok, decent body and the sweetness didn't really become cloying.

Having had this straight after Barrel Aged Yeti, it didn't come close. I know FW make awesome beers, but this seemed like it had lost a lot of the complexity that i know it probably had.

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Photo of kayalla
3.58/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this numerous time, both batch 1 and batch 2. This is my first review though I've been scouring this site for some time and going out of my way to collect bottles. On the the beer...from a batch 1 bottle. Pours black in the glass with a small brown head. Aroma was molasses, roasted grains, chocolate, hot bourbon. Really pronounced flavors, a lot of that molasses I got with dark chocolate, maybe some raisins. As a BA stout it's all right, not my favorite. Mouthfeel was thick and creamy. Kind of messy and really sweet overall. I guess this would fall into the "over rated" camp in my book.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.6/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours black with a mocha head that fades to a ring. Nose is roasted malt of the burned varietal. Typical FW anise, almost mint-like barrel notes shine in. That was part of what I loved so much about the FW13. Bitter baker's chocolate. Mouth is almost numbing, very heavy, that burned malt playing with dark fruits like dates, raisins, still that nice herbal quality. Boozy and fairly hot. Heavy and unfocused to my taste. Has good qualities but this is a bit much on its own. I much prefer it in the anniversary blends.

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Photo of Chaney
3.61/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I split this 2011 bomber tonight with my wife.

A: Viscious, extremely black, and with a head only a shade or two lighter than the brew itself.

S: Subdued bourbon, dark fruit, and a bit of dark chocolate to balance that out. Potent, but not too.

T: Fairly hot, chocolatey, and extremely viscious in general. This totally wasn't what I was expecting. I got a generous amount of heat on the aftertaste, but tons of chalk also.

M: Thick, but not as thick and creamy as I was hoping. Still, this was lightly carbonated and very cloying.

O: Disappointing. I'd heard lots of amazing things about this one and it kinda let me down. That's a shame, because I totally dig Firestone Walker overall.

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Photo of thatruth
3.62/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

24oz bottle poured into a Ninkaski pint glass. Pours a liquorice black into glass. Absolutely opaque color underlines a dark mocha head. The head pours fat but dissipates quickly with cappuccino tan slippery lacing.

Smells strong of alcohol, the 12.5% is more than obvious here. Robust cherries and figs with overtones of purple grapes. Hints of liquorice are present, as well.

Taste is damn nutty and malty. Chocolate and a mellow fruit, slight liquorice type flavor is all that really comes to mind.

Initially flat on the tongue, the taste rounds out on the back of the throat. Alcohol reverberates throughout the mouth while a cream-like feel touches off the finish.

I've been waiting to open this bottle for a year now. I had planned on keeping it longer, but I've never been one for patience. Opening it when I moved a month ago was the idea, to christen the new house, and although that never came to fruition, temptation proved too volatile tonight. An $18 bottle I bought from Seattle last summer that I've seen for $15 here in Bellingham, needless to say I've had better. You're buying for nomenclature and exclusivity here. While it is a tasty brew, I've had twice as good beers for half the price. Unless you're buying for a wedding or dinner party, or just to impress a lady, stick with something else to fulfill your exotic craft or review-based needs.

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Photo of pepsican
3.62/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

tap at dld 08. Black, tan head. Aroma is buttered popcorn. Flavor is black jelly bean, bourbon, mollases, coffee, diacytal, a bit of hops round it out. Strong boozy finish, little carbonation

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,199 ratings.
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