Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

6,418 Ratings
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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 Buļ¬€alo Trace.

Added by largadeer on 03-26-2008

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Ratings: 6,418 |  Reviews: 1,224
Photo of FFreak
4.92/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Shared amongst friends around a campfire. Appearance is dark - hard to say more - it was dark out except for the campfire! Smell is beautiful with dark fruits, chocolate, dark brown sugar and bourbon. Taste is just delicious, with flavors of chocolate and bourbon perfectly blended and just the right amount of soft bitterness on the finish. The mouth feel is perfect....medium-full, not overly viscous, adequately carbed, sweet but not even close to cloying. Overall, a truly wonderful stout.

 498 characters

Photo of Seanem44
4.53/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The 2017 variant. I finally got my hands on some and I was not let down. Truly remarkable beer that was an absolute delight throughout the duration. I can't wait to try the other two I am cellaring at some point in the next few years.

 237 characters

Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.84/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2016 vintage poured into a tulip.
Pours very dark brown, almost black with barely a hint of light passing through on the edges, very low head that drops out.
Aromas are tons of sweet bourbon and chocolate with deep roasted malt.
Flavor is perfection. Tons of bourbon, tons of chocolate with some coffee bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel was silky and just thick enough.
This beer is flat out incredible and one of the best BA stouts I've ever had.

 449 characters

Photo of DemoniChris
4.89/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Photo of Nashuaslick
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Outstanding. I got chocolate creamy taste. Very smooth, almost like a cognac. Had it as an after dinner drink. Very good.

122 characters

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

Photo of GreenMind
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Dadthew
4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Bloodbuzz99
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Delicious buttery goodness- it's how most of these top BA stouts separate themselves from the crowd. Tried right after a KBS 2017 and it was twice the beer. The finish is the key: a smooth buttery finish- well done FW!

 218 characters

Photo of zshaft
3.87/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ThreeBeersWalkedIn
4.48/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of hopflyer
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2017 Vintage. Been wanting this for a long time. 14.5% for this year's version. Brewed, barrel aged, and bottled in collar. With Boulevard in KC, MO.

Color is lighter than I expected during the pour. Light cola colored, light tan one finger head dissipates quickly. Nearly opaque in the glass.

Deep roast malts and prominent charred wood initial smell. Vanilla and chocolate as well, faint coffee. Little in way of fruits but I'd rather my stouts carry what I'm picking up now than the fruit.

Taste carries with deep charred wood and hefty on the vanilla flavors. Some chocolate but I think the barrel wood and vanilla dominate, but the subtle whisky booze carries nicely thru. More booziness as it warms some along with roasted coffee bitterness. Fairly complex flavor profile.

Feel is a full medium body, but wouldn't say it's "thick" and lower side of medium carbonation. Was thinking it be a bit more slick and viscous and less carbonated. A touch of alcohol burn but Doesn't detract from anything.

Glad to finally give this one a try. It's a bit lighter than I expected for such a big beer but array of flavors more than make up for that. Got 3 more and looking forward to trying a few with some time on them.

 1,232 characters

Photo of jcoleMA66
4.76/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This was the 2017 vintage and my first ever Parabola. Looks like dark fudge in a glass and sticks to the glass with some serious alcohol legs. Smell is dark fruit, chocolate and barrel character. Taste follows nose with addition of vanilla and bourbon from the barrels and the flavor really evolves as it warms. Mouthfeel is thick and sludgy. Great beer that I'm glad I finally got to try. I managed to get a second bottle which I'm going to cellar for a year or two. Can't wait to see how it changes.

 501 characters

Photo of _Adam_
4.51/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JLK7299
4.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Strohm
4.61/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2017 Vintage
Smell = Chocolate. Vanilla fudge. Bourbon. Not much alcohol
Taste = vanilla. Coffee. Fudge. Not much alcohol when poured cold but more when it warms up.
Feel = thick. Low carbonation but almost feels like a nitro
Overall = this is really good. Wow. I'm not the biggest BA fan but this is light on the alcohol and sweet bourbon flavor which are my main gripes with BA

 381 characters

Photo of London08
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of HattedClassic
4.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Parabola (2015 Vintage) Aged for two years.

The beer pours a nice creamy tan head that dissipates fairly quickly while leaving a nice ring around the inside of the glass. The beer itself is a nice dark chocolate black with a nice, shiny, and slick looking surface. It definitely looks like it drinks smoothly.

The smell is pretty good. The taste is better than the smell but it isn't without its charm. The smell seems to have a stronger coffee note mixed in the bourbon along with a decent char note and some nice fire from the alcohol.

The taste is fantastic. It has a nice blend of barrel aged beers whose notes mix fantastically with the beer notes. The stronger notes tend to come from the barrel notes but only barely. The beer notes tend to fall more towards the sweet dark chocolate notes and a very light roasted malt note and hop bitterness in the finish. The barrel notes are sweet with a good bourbon in the finish. The charred oak is definitely there but it's hard to identify it. There is also a good vanilla note that makes itself known by peeking through the chocolate.

The feel is pretty good. It's a heavy bodied beer that is extremely drinkable and dangerously so. The feel is extremely smooth with a slight thinness from the barrel aging to it. The carbonation is extremely light and tingly enough to give it a good texture to remind you that it's a beer. There is a slight alcohol burn to it in the finish and the smell.

Overall, this a pretty good beer and it seems to have aged extremely well. The aroma and taste are absolutely fantastic and create a great experience. If you manage to run across this, grab since it seems to have aged fairly well but seems like it could use an extra year or two.

 1,727 characters

Photo of jakea
4.31/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mancavebeercouch
4.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of RDW
4.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of PlinyMeNow
4.1/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a wine glass, 2017 vintage. Paired with 70% dark chocolate (Chocolove Strong Dark), which I recommend doing!
Pours an extremely dark opaque brown, not quite black, with a thin but even brown head without a lot of bubbles rising from the bottom. I highly recommend drinking this after it has warmed and breathed a bit.
Smell is of milk chocolate, roasted coffee, toasted caramelizad malts, bourbon. Taste follows the nose with the addition of some bitterness and unfortunately is dominated by ethanol as well, a bit strong for me... but again, wait and let it warm and breathe and it doesn't diminish, but seems to make more sense. Mouthfeel is slick and mouth coating, somewhat resinous, and aftertaste is a bit bitter with some burnt character as well as some alcohol burn. Overall very well done but not necessarily up to the hype.

 863 characters

Photo of Allurex
4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of michaelsmith11
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Muss42
4.56/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,418 ratings.
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