Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
100
world-class
6,514 Ratings
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ParabolaParabola
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
6,514
Reviews:
1,247
Avg:
4.54
pDev:
7.93%
 
 
Wants:
3,142
Gots:
3,723
For Trade:
280
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,514 |  Reviews: 1,247
Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of smithj4
4.74/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of billab914
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Stone RIS glass. It poured pitch black with a thin tan head to it. After a few minutes the head had all but retreated to the edges of the glass, where it left just a bit of lacing.

The aroma shows a lot of dark chocolate coming through. Oak wood with a bit of a bourbon alcohol and vanilla flavor come through as well. Very flavorful and complex aroma to it overall.

The taste has a lot of really great flavors to it. Dark chocolate mixes with a pretty big barrel aged, vanilla and oak wood flavor. Towards the finish more of the bourbon notes come out along with some coffee and bitter chocolate. Just a bit of some cherry flavors pop up and add a nice chocolaty cherry aspect to it. Fantastic flavor overall and perfect barrel aging for my taste. It doesn't get better than this.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side with carbonation being low. Drinkability is great for such a high alcohol beer. The flavors all came together excellently. The barrel aging really enhanced it and gave it some fantastic depth instead of overpowering it. World class beer overall and one of the top of the style for sure.

 1,144 characters

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

2014 vintage.
Pours pitch black with a nice dark brown half finger head that lingers a while, just a thin lacing later on.
The smell tells you this will be incredible. There's great rich dark chocolate, smokey roasted malts, espresso, toffee, some dark fruit, some bourbon barrel (without any booze tho), faint tobacco, and much more.
Taste started with rich milky chocolate , salted toffee and dark fruit (plum, raisin, some fig). Huge tasty vanilla, lots of oak, nice bourbon, again, with a great flavour-enhancing abv that never gets boozy. Barrel notes intensify, roasted malts and some nice coffee start appearing, but the initial tastiness is never pushed away. Great complexity.
Perfect mouthfeel.
Had just a few quick notes, so i'm sure i didn't get to write down all about this beer, and i'm sure i wouldn't be able either way. There's a huge complexity here (incredible barrel-aging), incredible flavours, setting this one as the best beer i've ever had, without any doubts.

 984 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of vfgccp
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A – Almost pitch black. Creamy, yoo-hoo colored head with a nice lace.

S – Huge vanilla and caramel over a bourbony booze. There’s an interesting fruity twist deep in the nose that’s almost like cinnamon apple oatmeal.

T – Soft booze into raw vanilla and caramel. Smooth cream and thick dark chocolate. Semi-sweet cocoa finish with a touch of spicy booze.

M – Full bodied and silky smooth. Booze leaves a nice warmth on the backend.

O – A fantastic RIS. Surprisingly drinkable for the booze.

 509 characters

Photo of atrocity
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of millerbuffoon
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.52/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Scott for this bottle, one of the beers I have been wanted to try for very long time.

A: Pours a jet black color with a one finger tan/brownish head with decent carbonation. Thin lacing forms all around the glass.

S: Great aroma. Some bourbon, vanilla, plenty of oak, chocolate, and a little bit of roasted malt. There are some faint dark fruits, mostly raisin and plum.

T: Lots going on, nice rich chocolate, oak, bourbon, and plenty of vanilla, which really hits home on the finish. A little bit of roast mixed in.

M: Fantastic, slightly heavier than medium bodied, but extremely smooth. One of the easiest drinking imperial stouts I have had. Slightly dry finish.

O: Fantastic beer, moves up to one of my favorites. Great combination of flavors and so easy drinking for a big beer.

 808 characters

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

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

Photo of mikesgroove
4.92/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can this beer live up to the hype, I have a lot of expectations on it to be honest. I have been staring at it on my wants list for 3 years, dying to get a taste, but with no luck. Then they bottle it and I go into full on rage mode to get some. A kind BA sent me a bottle and I am in heaven. My son graduated yesterday, what better way to celebrate I could not think of one.

Served chilled and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 05/26/2010.

Deep and dark, black as night this one poured with a tremendous fury. Evil looking and thick as oil it came at me . Small two finger head settled down and coated the sides with sticky chocolate colored lacing that let me know I was in for it.

As I reach in and take a whiff it hits me like a ton of bricks. Deep aroma of roasted malts, huge bourbon notes , vanilla, molasses, tons of rich oak and lots of sugary and boozy touches. Hard to explain, just soo complex I dont know where to begin. Warming just confuses me more as the profile seems neverending. Each sip is like liquid god for me. Deep roasted notes, coffee, light licorice, bourbon, boozy flavor that seems to dominate early on but fade as it starts to warm. Vanilla, and oak, chocolate, rich decadent notes of toffee and never ending complexity welcome me and wont let me go. Smooth carbonation, full, complex body, delicous, perfect nightcap.

Overall everything I wanted it to be and then some. One of the best BA beers I have ever had. It works on every level possible. So worth seeking out.

 1,515 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Slatetank
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at DLD.
A - Pitch, piano black w/ a light tan collar of about 1/4 inch, the lace is moderate.

S - Plum, coffee, toasted marshmallow, currant and dark cherry aromas. There is subtle smoke, french roast, vanilla and bullion in the background.

M - Rich, viscous almost w/ roasted boozy, but not hot feel. There is roasted grain and char in the texture w/ subtle spice and molassess tinge the Stout is relatively mildly carbonated.

T - A mince meat, raisin and deep currant flavor w/ peppery hop spice and a coffee extract taste. The flavor has elements of warm extra dark toffee and rich blackstrap tinges.

D - Dark berry, boozy and magnificent. The finish is dry and it is easy to drink for its hugeness. A blessing to my taste buds - it tells the story well this Parabola is a testament to Firestone Walker-Kudos!

 835 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From 11/28/10 notes. Shared a 22 oz. bottle of this with my brother. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

a - Pours a jet black color with one to two fingers of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for a few minutes and leaves a little bit of lacing on the glass. Looks great.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, chocolate, dark fruits, roasted malts, and coffee. Very complex and great. I had Old Rasputin XII the night before drinking this one and I think the two of them might be the best barrel aged RIS's I've ever had.

t - Tastes of bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts, oak, dark fruits, and vanilla. Again, very complex; I loved it.

m - Wow, the mouthfeel is truly amazing. Light to medium body and low carbonation, this might be the smoothest RIS I've ever had. A perfect mouthfeel.

d - Truly an amazing barrel aged beer; this is one of my favorite RIS's. The smell and taste are both very balanced and complex, and the mouthfeel is perfect. I felt like I could drink a lot of this, even with the 13% ABV. Can't wait to have this one again.

 1,060 characters

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

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.52/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle poured into my CBS snifter. Split three ways. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Standard imperial stout look. Black body with a small khaki head. Poor retention, but it's 12.5%, so yeah. Sticky looking as it swirls in the glass. Looks like it could be a sugar bomb.

Smell - A lot of barrel. Not all bourbon, though. Along with the bourbon is a fair dose of vanilla and some hops from the stout. Some of the stout comes through, but it's mostly barrel.

Taste - Wow. Vanilla and bourbon up front followed seamlessly by chocolate and coffee roasted malts. Hefty hop bitterness, but not excessive. Adds complexity and a nice bite that reminds me that it is indeed an RIS. Really spectacular flavor.

Mouthfeel - Thick, but not a hint of sweetness. Low carbonation, but not sluggish to drink. Coats the mouth and the hop bitterness lingers without being intrusive.

Overall - A wonderful stout. I need more of this. A welcome change from some of the sugar bombs I've had lately.

 982 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Blue Palms 1st Anniversary

A: Dark as night and wonderful viscosity to it. No head and no visible carbonation.

S: Vanilla, chocolate, licorice, some graham cracker, and slight booze.

T: A truly amazing beer. Very smooth vanilla flavor from the barrel, lots of chocolate, and some graham cracker. The booze is very well hidden in this monster, as well.

M: Huge body, velvety smooth.

D: I was expecting this one to be really overwhelming, but it wasn't at all. A fantastic beer, one that I wish I could have more often, and I actually ended up buying two glasses of it today.

 592 characters

Photo of orangesol
4.27/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to FooFaa for bringing this to the Inaugural "Imminent Liquidation Bottle Share" Event. Bottle poured into a taster glass.

A - Pours pitch black with a small cap of half finger tall tan head, dissipating down to almost nothing, leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S - Plenty of dark malt, chocolate, vanilla, dulled bourbon heat, and some light charred wood. Good overall balance but nothing too over the top. Solid Stuff.

T - Flavors are similar to the nose. Lots of dark roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, and charred oak. The booze is very well hidden, offering only short glimpses of the warming bourbon. Finish is a mix of sweetness and lightly warming heat. Damn, this is one good beer. I might need to get a few bottles of this for myself.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice full feel with some lingering sweet roast in the finish.

D - Very good. I have wanted to try this one for awhile now and now that I have I am impressed. I just wish I would have picked up a few bottles for myself.

 1,037 characters

Photo of PA-Michigander
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,514 ratings.
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