Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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ParabolaParabola
BA SCORE
4.61/5
World-Class
6,771 Ratings
ParabolaParabola
BEER INFO

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#26
Reviews:
1,300
Ratings:
6,771
pDev:
7.59%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
3,151
Gots:
3,791
Trade:
284
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,771 |  Reviews: 1,300
Photo of ntanner83
4.44/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Dr_Fox
4.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Nograinleftbehind
4.46/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 3/15/18; drank 4/29/18 @ the Yarchives.

Black/brown appearance.

A violent pour yielded a nice tan head; decent lace.

Vanilla, milk chocolate, mild bourbon & faint oak notes in the nose.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Brown sugar, caramel & oak flavors up front; mild bourbon & faint coconut notes on the finish.

Rich & tasty, if not overwhelming. Worth a quaff.

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Photo of VforVinny
3.94/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It is a pretty good Imperial Stout but I have definitely had better. It isn't bad by any means.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
4.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
Pours out very dark brown. And once the glass is filled, it looks black with brown highlights. A thin but dense tan colored crown sits on top.
The smell is bourbon first, then a lot of dark fruit, vanilla and oak.
The taste is chocolately with the bourbon and vanilla. More chocolate than I expected. The oak and barrel qualities are nice.
The mouthfeel is warming from the bourbon. This doesn't really seem "full bodied" for a Russian imperial stout. It's not thin, just thinner than expected for the style.
Overall, it delivered on being solid and balanced, but not gonna lie I did expect more from this.

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.77/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Spieglau stout glass, 1" khaki foam head which quickly dissipated,very little lacing. Looks deep dark mahogany red. Smells of chocolate,berries,burnt vanilla,must,oak. Taste is similar with a berry/cacao going on.Feels pleasant almost dry, well carbonated finish. Booze is evident (not a 14% as the header says) my 2018 vintage says 12.7%. These Firestone Walker vintage editions are all world class in my opinion. These are 10$ a bottle. Boxed individually. Overall I wish I could buy them all without feeling like a beer hoarder.

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Photo of Grinky
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TreBonez
4.92/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of gr0g
4.83/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2018 vintage, 12oz bottle. Black with a tan head of fine, frothy bubbles. This has a more impressive head than any other barrel-aged stout I can recall. Effusive aroma that initially suggests vanilla and toasted marshmallows. There's a distinct note of bourbon-soaked wood, but the aroma here is far from being excessively hot and boozy like with some barrel-aged beers. Ripe dark fruit notes (raisin/currant) as well, similar to Bourbon County Brand Stout in that respect.

Flavor profile is rich and sweet with a touch of alcohol on the finish. A fair bit sweeter than the KBS I had just a week ago, though I'm enjoying this at closer to room temperature. Personally, I think the sweetness suits this beer nicely, but it's just a bit much here. While I've never had this, I have had Sucaba, and the two are similar in how much residual sugar is present. The mouthfeel is just about perfect, though. It's just impossibly smooth and totally devoid of any harshness, yet not flat-tasting. Tons of rum-soaked fruit character here, comparatively little roasted malt character or other typically stout-like flavors. It's really more of a barleywine-like flavor profile overall.

For years, Parabola has eluded me. I finally got my hands on a bottle, and now I wish I'd gotten more. The reviews don't lie - this is a world-class beer.

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Photo of MattJ12
4.36/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JBowenGeorgia
4.65/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown almost black with half a finger of tan head.
Smells of bourbon, dark fruit, chocolate, caramel, a hint of vanilla.
Taste follows, very barrel forward.
Chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, and vanilla.
A little thin but not overly so.
Overall a great BA stout.

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Photo of ronniebruner
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of cvandette
4.58/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Holderness
4.41/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2018 vintage

L — Surprising body that I was not expecting: very deep amber with near-total clarity. Phone flashlight easily passes through the glass. Finger of tan head produced with moderate pour. Minimal retention and spotty lacing
S — Tons of sugar-coated dried dark fruits, bourbon barrel character, dark chocolate, butterscotch, hint of maple
T — Sweet dried dark fruit, lots of bourbon heat, bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, hint of char.
F — Dense and viscous. Minimal carb, huge mouthfeel. Very similar to BCBS in that it doesn’t have much velvetiness while still having an overall nice feel
O — Tasty and potent BBA stout. I can certainly see the comparisons that many have made between it and BCBS. The appearance is my only complaint

89/100

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Photo of AdamofSoCal
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of TCOlson
4.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Chadlossie
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mmcpartlon
3.41/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Beer was bottled less than a month ago. I hope I just got a bad bottle... the nose is reminiscent of the water collector of a dehumidifier. I also get a more than subtle note of wet dog. You can smell this thing from across the room.
Unlike the nose, The taste is surprisingly good. boozy, bourbon, toasty malts, and some sweetness. The booze is not well hidden.
Body is decent, a bit light for an imperial stout. Looks/feels more like a porter. Hope I just had a weird batch.

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Photo of RickyBfromCT
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of smcel371
4/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of morimech
4.1/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2018 Vintage

Looks like an imperial stout. Nothing remarkable. Aroma is full of anise with hints of yeast esters, bourbon, and oak. Flavor of licorice, moderately roasted malt, vanilla, and bourbon. Alcohol is well hidden with just a gentle warming in the finish. Smooth and full textured body. This and Sucaba have the same underlying licorice flavor.

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Photo of Ivan52
4.46/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Zythophile
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date: 2017
Palate Contaminants: other beer

The color might seem black, but it's fairly easy to get bits of super-dark brown. There's a minimal amount of head, and not much resulting lacing.

Smell has tons of anise. There's also cola and cilantro. Very thick sorghum.

First of all, it's a sipper. Very intense. If I could sum it all up concisely, it's like a coffee-flavored dark rum. Toasted sugar provides the backdrop for everything else. It's beyond toasty, even, all the way to smoky. (Not quite all the way to charred barrel though.) Anise and cilantro are dialed way back. The coffee flavor isn't as fresh as some that I've had. Bits of both coconut husk and fine tobacco.

I can't tell that this is a fifteener; the alcohol is very well hidden. Minimal carbonation. Medium-heavy for the type. Aftertaste is sweet and smoky, along with an herbal element that's not overly strong.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.61 out of 5 with 6,771 ratings