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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: 1,173 | Ratings: 6,189
Photo of Gavage
4.23/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a 1/2" head which falls quickly to a spotty surface foam.

Smell: roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some fruit sweetness are up front. Some vanilla and alcohol round it out.

Taste: big roasted malt flavors, chocolate, vanilla, prunes, a bit of coffee , and alcohol. Very complex and flavors improve as it warms.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth throughout. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: very slow sipping but very flavorful. This would be better aged as it is a bit boozy now.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The one and only Parabola, on-tap at 38 Degrees. The final beer of the night, on to the beer:

Oh my, another darker than black imperial stout! The lacing on this one is actually quite solid for the style. Now in this beer, the barrel qualities are noticable, but are more subtle than the Rasputin XII I had earlier. The aroma is very mellow, with a little oak, and succulent cocoa.

While not as complex, it's still very tasty. There's chocolate, boysenberry(!), licorice, and a little touch of oak. That sounds, good, don't you think? And they're blended and balanced together with the craftsmanship of FW. It's thick and rich, yet never overbeaing or harsh on the palate.

Do I need to say that this is delicous beer? A bomber of this may be a little much for me, but I'd certainly be happy to split one with somebody in the future...or be lucky and find Parabola on-tap again.

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Photo of liamt07
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Rutager, 650ml into a tulip. Bottled March 14, 2012. Killer!

Black body, with a bubbly light brown head. Mild retention. Nose of oak, whiskey, chocolate and molasses. Sweet and completely balanced. Taste has more oak, vanilla, whiskey, lightly roasted malts, sweet molasses and chocolate. Quite thick in feel, no alcohol and super smooth. Not super complex, but an extremely well crafted BA'd stout.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. This has been on my wants for a long time.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with a tan head.

The aroma is a mix of licorice and roasted malt. The beer's aroma reminds me of Ten Fidy and is a little disappointing.

The flavor more than makes up for the slight disappointment in the aroma. I get a ton of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and maple. The flavor is very complex and all of the flavors meld together very well, with none of the individual flavors stomping on the others.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

This is how you do a bourbon barrel aged beer. Excellent.

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Photo of stevoj
4.45/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at Boise’s Imperial Stout get together, over 120 bottles to choose from. Going with the flow on this rating. Sampled again at Alefort, 2015 vintage.Very smooth and silky, chocolate, molasses, wood and mild burn. Extremely tasty.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.91/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into Fremont and Reuben's Brew small snifters. A long awaited mini vertical of the original bottling (2010) and the fresh 2014 vintage. The older bottle was properly cellar aged. Both were similar in appearance: a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque in the glass with a thin, patchy light brown head, slightly more foam on the newer bottle.
2010: Aroma dominated by bourbon and oak, with vanilla, dark malt, dark dried fruit. Flavor is sweet dark toasted malt with a hint of char, chocolate, vanilla, dark dried fruit; finishes with the most amazing cocoa aftertaste similar to finishing a spiked glass of hot chocolate, bourbon. Remarkable and warming. Medium creamy bodied. The initial flavor is beautifully balanced between the chocolate flavors, malt and bourbon, but the bourbon and chocolate eventually dominate the finish. Delicious.

2014: Aroma of toffee, vanilla, bourbon soaked dried dark fruit, faint dark malt. Flavor follows, dominated by toffee, vanilla and bourbon, supported by dark toasted malt and dark dried fruit flavors, finishing boozy with caramel bourbon. Medium bodied with creaminess. Quite a different flavor profile from the aged one, the older version really emphasizing chocolate and whiskey (not quite as identifiable and bourbon) and the newer one brighter with toffee, vanilla and lighter fruit as well as the dark dried fruit. The newer one is slightly less sweet.

The aged Parabola has virtually no signs of oxidation at all, which in my experience is unusual with stouts, and one of the reasons I'm aging fewer stouts in favor of barley wines these days. Except for the wonderful balance and integration of flavors, it is not possible for me to tell this is 4 years old, it has aged wonderfully. I deeply regret not aging more of these now and with this very tough to find on the market now, it appears to be unlikely that it will be easy to find additional bottles for the cellar any more.

This is a stout that completely lives up to its hype. Excellent and very different fresh. Apparently with many, many years left for aging. A masterpiece.

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Photo of aasher
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage courtesy of BrewerB, thanks Brian! This beer pours a medium bodied dark chocolate brown in color with a one finger dark kahki head. It smells of sweet milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted malts, sweet vanilla, toffee and creamed coffee. It tastes of bitter chocolates, coffee with cream, a lot of oak, and bourbon. It's a pretty well integrated blend. It drinks very smoothly and isn't as viscous as a lot of imperial stouts. It's overly drinkable for the style and pretty approachable. The bourbon is there but kind of mellow. If I were to not pick I'd say it could he stronger but its not a big deal. Overall this is a fine beer and definitely worth trying. Kudos to FW for making this so available.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. Bomber/Box
Black Foil/Capped
2016 Vintage
No. 007
Cases Produced: 4000
ABV: 13.1%

Been A Long Time Coming!

Poured into a chalice a very nice thick black color, very nice carbonation, with a quick/fizzy creamy tan head, which leaves a pretty nice medium size oil slick/island, with some minimal sticky lacing. The nose is very nice, malty, with a very nice touch of chocolate/toffee, vanilla, cherries, figs, plums, pretty nice bourbon/oak notes, some licorice, slight coffee. The taste is really freakn' awesome, malty, very nice vanilla sweetness, very nice touch of bourbon/oak, licorice, dark fruits, chocolate/toffee notes. Full body, ABV hidden very well, this is a very complex brew. Overall, definitely one of the best brew's I've had in a long time. Highly Recommended!

Thanks goes out to dsgolovin for this brew.

22oz. Bomber
Black Tin Foil/Capped

Pours a jet black color, nice carbonation, with a one-finger creamy tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, tons of chocolate/toffee notes, vanilla, slight bourbon note. The taste is malty, sweet, with lots of chocolate/toffee. Full/Medium Body. The ABV is too up front on this one. A very tasty brew.

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

2011 bomber split with oglmcdgl and sourbatchkid. Glad to see firewalker out here on the eastcoast. The world just got a bit smaller. Sorry Cali :(

Into the Duvel tulip, Parabola pours out a sludgy black color resembling night time. Pretty viscous looking streaming down, it is jet black once in the glass. A nice mocha brown inch of foam bubbly and lasting leaving some marks.

Smell is something to marvel at. It's bold, pungent and full of everything you would think. Bourbon clashing with a big roasted malt scent. Wood with chocolate hints and a underlining vanilla scent. Bold and beautiful.

Had a sip, meh, had another, yeah, and another, give me more!! Roasted malts play a big part as does the bourbon and wood at this young stage in the bottle. A bit of char and smoke and a faint drop of dark fruit resembling cherry. Not sure what the wine barrel influence brings, but something gotta be there. Chocolate over slight and I mean slight vanilla. Not a sweet beer, but well balanced with all above.

Feel is what you would expect from the look. Viscous, a big ol body, adaquate carb yet goes down smoother than that. With all the flavor it's best to sip this slow to get to know it better. A bit oily and a coater of the throat. Get a bit of char with bourbon in the aftertaste and some heat to go with it.

Im not the biggest rizzzz guy, but for what Parabola puts out, im more than game and if a bottle needed to be drank by myself, I would do it. It would take me four hours to do it, but it would get finished. A sipper at heart that begs to be drank more and more and more.

Overall I think this is an excellent BBA beer and one of my top three. It helps that it is not insanely overpriced like a certain ops from Brooklyn. The other barrels used impart so much more than just your average Barrel stout and it shows from the complexities, especially the faint cherry. Got one to lay down till wintertime, maybe christmas.

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Photo of VeganUndead
4.83/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into Chimay Chalice

Motor oil. As black and syrupy as 30 weight. The nose is all toasted malt, coffee, chocolate, with some spice. Definitely a sipper, probably good for your health to share the bottle but you won't want to. Absolutely delicious. People who call oil liquid gold clearly haven't had this. One of the best RISs I've ever had and one of my new favorite beers. Can't wait to open the other bottle in a couple years.

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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 JohnGalt1
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Inflatablechair busted this one out at Eric's a while back... just getting around to entering in the notes.

Pours with a thick brown head... great retention and lacing...

Nose shows more wood than bourbon but with a good roasty background that carries a subtle sweetness reminiscent of dark dark chocolate.

Flavor is immediately drier than the nose made me believe.. bits of vanilla and sweet cigar wrapper envelope waves of great complexities.. a bit boozy with warmth.. and the malts open up to be a bit sweeter as the temperature rises.

Smooth but present carbonation with a pretty full decadent mouth coating body.

Thanks Sammy.... I really need to try and score some of these before the wells run dry.

4.5 across the board.

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Photo of biegaman
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A snifter of the very first pour from a freshly tapped keg. On-tap at the brewery in Paso Robles, August 2008.

What I couldn't be sure was the darkest shade of black I'd ever seen in a beer, could still certainly be considered among them. Although opaque and certainly dark it could not conceal its sleek luster. Its head - remarkably in good standing for a beer this strength - was mocha late brown. The streamlining of lace was exceptional.

Your mind can be swayed just about any which way with an aroma like this. The smell was paradoxically sweet and bitter with forcible notes of anise, oak, vanilla, tannins, and dark berries. It offers every enticement for you to just keep your nose fixed right there.

Its very initial impressions on the palate are boozy and sweet and have the mark of a port or sherry. It is robust with fruity esters and flavours of red grapes, dark berries, and the remnants of rich fortified wine. But this is not even half the story.

Once settled into the back of the mouth, your tongue will pick up on an entirely different cast of flavours. Here anise spice, black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, and soft fudge set in. The oak becomes buttery and vanilla is introduced.

With swallowing, the whole package - tannic red wine, aged sherry, chocolate fudge and vanilla scented oak - coat the palate with a bittersweet glaze and then gracefully pass down the throat as one. It may be hard to believe but the texture is almost creamy, like a freshly whipped mousse.

There's really no way around the high gravity. Thirteen is a lot of percentage to hide even for a beer with this much taste. To get around it, however, the blending and barrel aging have integrated the alcohol amongst the flavours and proportioned just the right amount of heat to each mouthful. Besides, sipping is only appropriate for a beer this rich.

What can be said of this creation? It was outstanding. Like the Firestone 10 and 11, it is the result of skilled blending and masterful craftsmanship. Consider brewing and blending as an art - this is certainly one of its masterpieces.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, 8 oz. serving, as it is 13%,

A: Pours a jet black, with a light tan head with good retention, and excellent, thick lacing.

S: Get a lot of bourbon notes mixed with some coffee and booze, ethanol volatiles are there that you can feel in the nose.

T: Reminds me of Firestone 11 right of the bat with its initial taste which was full of vanilla. But then the beer changes and shows that it was only a small part of that beer. Major chocolate and coffee notes, definite espresso with a soothing alcohol presence, very tasty stout.

M: Velvety smooth and thick, what you'd expect from a 13% stout, pretty much picture perfect, very full-bodied.

D: This is an outstanding beer from Firestone and I was suprised how fast I finished the glass. Not as good as the blend of Firestone 11, but this is great in its own right, glad I finally got to try it; I definitely want to have it again while it is still out.

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Photo of Zorro
4.15/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pure black colored beer with a small dark Brown colored head.

Smells sweet with a strong chocolate and coconut aroma. Lots of vanilla here and a whiff of whiskey. There is a faint orange aroma here like a Cadbury Chocolate Orange.

Starts out strong vanilla and chocolate, with some coconut and caramel. Strong vanilla and a bitter chocolate aftertaste, this is very much a vanilla and chocolate beer. Slightly hot in the mouth still not bad at all for 13% ABV. Tasty but still a little young, let it age a year.

Mouthfeel seems a bit thin; alcohol seems to have everything well dissolved.

Very good drinkability for a young high-test beer. This needs to be aged for a year.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle I've been aging in my cellar- I decided to crack it with my wife in this prelude week to Christmas. I very much like the way the 13% abv edges have been smoothed out and the Bourbon flavors have become integrated into the beer. Definitely noticeable Bourbon notes, but it doesn't dominate the beer, and it's become oh so smooth. Pours inky black and viscous with a thin brown rim of a head and some legs on the glass. Nice aromas that present as a seamless whole- outstanding notes of licorice, vanilla, bourbon, and molasses. The taste is even better- really nice bourbon notes coupled beautifully with roasted notes, dark chocolate, licorice, and a slight woodiness than underlines the beer. Wonderful stuff. Absolutely silky in the mouth, with the sense of having swallowed some excellent drinking chocolate laced with good quality whiskey. Thoroughly enjoyed this, and I'm glad I was patient enough to wait.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.42/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

Pours nearly, but not quite, jet-black; with a small, frothy tan head that settles rather quickly. Minimal patchy lace.

Aroma of bourbon, certainly, and accompanying vanilla; fudgy chocolate, roasted, charred notes; caramel. Complex flavor has a bit of sweetness and stickiness; fairly bourbon forward; some heat that has been tamed to a pleasant level by age; caramel, chocolate, burnt sugar, vanilla, charred malt, oak, traces of dark fruits underneath; raisins, dates, and figs.

Medium-full bodied but not viscous; medium-low carbonation. Smooth, creamy, and delicious. Not the biggest or most over-the-top barrel aged stout but one of the most well-balanced and drinkable, certainly. Would love to see what a longer cellaring would bring about.

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Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TJ's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and minimal lacing. In short, this looks like a beer that had seen considerable barrel aging (which I gather it has). On the nose, I get dark chocolate and bourbon, but not much more than that (surprisingly). On the palate, however, this beer is just killer, with considerable dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, licorice and light dry citrus... and a ton of bourbon (yum!). Although the beer is fairly sweet, there is enough dry bitterness to counter the sweetnees, making for one rich, over the top, flavorful RIS. Mouthfeel is long, rich and fairly sweet, with considerable licorice and dark chocolate in the finish.

Just delicious, and a beer that I suspect will only get better with age. Impressive.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.82/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

8 oz poured from the tap at The Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

Very dark, "never-ending abyss"-black. Opaque as hell. Lace sticks to the glass like crazy all the way down.

Smells like cookie dough, bourbon, and chocolate.

Tastes like cocoa powder, cookie dough, toasty coconut, subtle but incredible bourbon sweetness. Very roasty bitterness plays off the sweetness provided by the barrel aging. Some oak there as well.

As full bodied as they come. Very low but still present carbonation.

One of the best. The guys at Firestone Walker are straight ballers.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review #700


Pours forth from the bottle with a viscosity so great that a rheologist would marvel at it. It appears ebony, with a huge light brown head, excellent retention, and scattered lacing.

The nose exhibits a great blend of caramel, roasted malt, and chocolate. The roast is of a moderate strength, and a dash of coffee is evident. There's a nice level of booze heat and a well integrated bourbon character. Do I detect cream? A wonderfully complex and balanced nose.

The taste is earthy bitterness up front with big chocolate and caramel notes, accompanied by a moderate roast and a light astringency. Again, bourbon is well integrated, and quite delicious. The beer finishes with a moderate bitterness, a touch of astringency, and just the right amount of booze heat, with a lingering bourbon-chocolate-caramel character.

The mouthfeel is incredible...full, creamy yet viscous, and sticky, with a lower moderate level of carbonation.

All around, this is an exceptional barrel aged RIS at a reasonable price for the style.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the 2012 batch Reserve Series no. 003. Sampled on July 31, 2013.

The pour is a deep dark brown with an opaque black veil dropping down from top to near the bottom. The brown is around the edges and there is a short-lived tan head.

Imperial Stout aroma galore including dark malts, sugar sweetness, licorice, chocolate, fig, wood, and the slightest sniff of smoke. Hops are downplayed on the nose.

The body is full and delicately smooth.

The taste is upfront with sweet malts, a little chocolate, maybe some butterscotch, and bourbon with this moderate hop bitterness that powers its way forward at the very finish lingering briefly. A topnotch Imperial Stout.

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Photo of weeare138
4.62/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a turbid opaque onyx with russet toned edges. A small, foamy tan head slowly fades. Scattered streaks of pacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of dark bakers chocolate, vanilla beans, sugary rum, bourbon, and intense caramel. Sheesh! I could smell this all afternoon.
Taste is of the aromas with a fine sipping version of caramel, vanilla, and cocoa. Obvious bourbon influence on amwell done imperial stout. Hells yeahs!
Mouthfeel is a tad boozy, as expected, full bodied, chewy, with a resonating sugar cookie and chocolate chip finish.

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Photo of Derek
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love Imperial Stouts, but I'm often not a fan of the really big ones... the one's that are so over-the-top they're not even drinkable for a couple of years. Thankfully, this is not one of those. This one has been tamed by a year in a barrel.

A: Black with a tan head. Leaves a thin ring around the glass and has a nice leg.

S: Big alcohol aroma, like a barrel-aged sherry. Hints of molasses, licorice, roasted nut and dark sponge toffee.

T: The alcohol is up front, but in an extremely pleasing way... like a fine port or sherry. Plenty of molasses, bakers chocolate, light licorice, a little rum, vanilla, sponge toffee, roasted nut, solid bitterness. Well done.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate-to-full body, modest carbonation, slightly oily, hint of roasted acidity, drying alcohol finish.

D/O: A divine sipper. A beer this big really does need some age, they used a barrel... and they did it well.

Now I wish I had saved this for my 2000th review. What an epic brew.

Huge thanks to Rutager for picking this one up!

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Photo of dar482
4.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

(2015 Vintage)
The beer pours out brown as it is lighter than BCBS by a good amount. Black in the glass with a ring of light head.

The aroma is bright of cherries, bourbon sweetness, lots of oak, cocoa, chocolate.

The beer up offers a pop of bourbon alcohol, lots of spice and star anise throughout the palate offering bitterness. The roast is medium for the style. Plums, raisin combine with sweetness of the bourbon. Oak hits in the mid-palate, but does not linger like previous vintages. Mouthfeel is medium to medium plus, but certainly not full.

A clear loser in a blind taste test against BCBS.

(2014 Vintage)
The beer comes in a beer comes in a black color with a brown head.

The aroma has lots of raisin and dark fruit with bourbon and chocolate.

The flavor follows with chewy chocolate, sweet vanilla, and chocolate in the front. Then there's some hint of umami and meaty qualities and a big caramel sweetness. Then onto an explosion huge back palate of toasted coconut. Almost like biting into an Almond Joy or eating toasted coconut.

The beer then ends of oak, leather and tobacco. 10-15 minutes in, the oak tannins will still linger, which actually is a bit too much.

The mouthfeel is medium plus to full, though not as viscous as Bourbon County.

A wonderful brew, but still not as good as Bourbon County.

I had this aged 2012 in keg at Brouwerij lane.

The beer comes in a pitch black with a khaki ring.

The aroma has big toffee and caramel sweetness with dark roasted notes. With some barrel wood notes. Deep rich dark raisin.

The flavor has a nuttiness with deep roasted malt. Very creamy. Vanilla. Coconut. Burnt caramel. Bitter darkest chocolate. Espresso. Definitely that oakiness from the barrels. There's a bit of that sticking sweetness. Finish lingers a bit, but not long. The beer lacks an alcohol bite. The aging must have really mellowed it out.

KBS is still my favorite barrel aged stout. However, this is one of my favorite still. Under Bourbon County Coffee, but above the regular version. So freaking smooth, wonderful barrel age character, just an amazing and delicious.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 boxed bottle purchased from Belmont Station in Portland, OR. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe during a brewday in Sydney, Australia.

Pours a fine deep brown-black, with a slightly frothy, large-bubbled head of mocha brown that leaves speckled lace. Body is solid but fluid, leaving fine carbonation, but swirling quickly. Looks good.

Nose is an excellent deep sweet oak-aged stout melange. Hints of vanilla mixed with a depth of roast, with a sharp ashy tinge like the cold remains of an overnight campfire. There's a little touch of sulphur to it as well, which lends some organics in a slightly weird, but not necessarily unpleasant way.

Palate is exceptional. Incredibly smooth and rich, and wonderfully balanced. Deep darkness is obviously the order of the day, but it's blended and folded over itself again and again until it has no harshness in it: it's smooth, rich, and certainly dark, but in the most mellow and approachable way. Light oak gives some vanilla, but as ever, that darkness sits around and draws the flavour back to its midnight depths. Wow. Incredible stuff.

Feel is smooth but with a lightness that again antagonises the true darkness that is at its heart.

This is a wonderful beer. It straddles the dichotomy of dark and light, of good and evil of sweet and bitter. Of everything. This beer is a little of it all. Really great stuff.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,189 ratings.
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    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

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