Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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ParabolaParabola
BA SCORE
4.61/5
World-Class
6,710 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#27
Reviews:
1,284
Ratings:
6,710
pDev:
7.59%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
3,157
Gots:
3,764
Trade:
287
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,710 |  Reviews: 1,284
Photo of Thorpe429
4.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Skuter for getting this out to me.

A: Pours near-black with a nice tan head that sticks around with a bit of lacing.

S: Very, very nice. The first thing I notice is quite a bit of oak alongside some vanilla and bits of char. In the background there are notes of chocolate and roasted coffee.

T: Much the same as the nose, but the roasted malt and oak take over a little bit, not allowing many of the subtle complexities to come through. It is very clear that this played a big role in the final FW13 blend.

M: Nice and creamy. Medium to full body.

D: Quite drinkable, although I really wish that the flavor profile was as well-integrated and complex as the nose. I'm definitely looking forward to trying this with a bit of age on it.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.6/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Tremendous stout! Served on tap and poured into a tulip glass, this beer was a rich opaque black with a lovely chocolate brown head, nearly a finger of it, which receded a bit during the session and left just a bit of soapy lacing behind. Luscious aroma of rich bittersweet chocolate, with notes of bitter coffee and a touch of vanilla and bourbon. All these qualities followed through in an excellent way on the palate, with the smooth, rich chocolate taking the foreground, both in the front and the finish, with a good balance of coffee bitterness mid-palate. Alcohol warmth definitely present, but barely boozy at all in the taste. Woody with subtle oak tones, and just a hint of dark fruits: cherries and figs. Full-bodied, rich, and quite the amazing drink overall.

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Photo of dcmchew
5/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If there is a stout that best exemplifies complementary complexity, it is parabola. So much happening in both smell and taste, with both having different flavors take turns dominate as you go down the glass. Molasses, bourbon, wood, biscuit, chocolate, vanilla, and a ton of smokey malt, all in a background of roasted elements. Just a fantastic beer year in and year out. Ages beautifully too!

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Photo of smcolw
4.27/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nearly no head from the initial pour. It settles to zero bubbles and therefore no lace. The liquid is naturally dark brown with little light shining through the edge of the glass.

Uber-sweet nose, like a barley wine. Strong sweet cherry and brandy notes. Surprisingly complex given that the smell is entirely from the malt (no hop or yeast to be found).

Very rich body (similar to whole milk). The carbonation is muted but definitely cuts the initial sweetness. The taste has enough burnt elements to cut the berry like flavors and bring a complex array of flavors. The alcohol is strong and warming. The swallow draws of this together for the complete experience. The aftertaste is similar to finishing a cognac -- warming with dark cherry overtones.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Stone Brewing Bistro & World Gardens on 11/13/09 during their Firestone Walker 13th on the 13th event. Served in a snifter.

Pours an inpenetrable dense black, with a 1/2 finger mix of reddish burnt and chocolately brown head. The retention on this is VERY rich, on the edges, with some thinner wisps in the center, leaving a strong latticework of heavy spotty lacing and brown gooey residue behind. Bourbon, vanilla, and oaky tannins jump out of the aroma at me first. This in no way overruns the nose, as a velvety smooth layer dwells underneath the barrel character, just dripping notes of chocolate syrup, molasses, roasted coffee, flaked oats, licorice, and coconut. Some alcohol hangs heavy with a pang of warmth in the nose, but it never does get overly intrusive or stinging.

The taste starts out with a rich & thick base of dark gooey chocolate, which the other flavors then seem to quickly gather around. Roast, coffee, vanilla, chewy oats, licorice, dark cherries, and finally shredded roasted coconut (which really puts this over the top), all wrap around that big chocolate sweetness, making for about as decadent of a flavor profile as I could hope for or want from this. Bourbon is flavorful (char and molasses are poking out at me) yet it is still fairly restrained in the finish, along with that every present slick woody character. It is just so WELL balanced in here with the other flavors, with the majority of the barrel coming out with a dry flush in the backend of the profile. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a huge creaminess to it from the oats. That powerful ABV is present (you can literally feel it raging underneath each sip) but the flavors are so equally mammouth here, it just perfectly masks any actual alcohol taste. It pretty much just leaves a slight haze on the breath, with much of any alcohol flavor coming from the bourbon and not the ABV.

Wow, the flavor and complexity of this was just outrageous and it's no wonder that the Anniversary blends are always so awesome with this being a big part of each one. This is one of the finest barrel-aged Stouts I've that I've had this year and I personally think that this is a bit underrated on here. Just fantastic stuff all around!

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Photo of jgunther71
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.64/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of atrocity
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of krome
4.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of mendvicdog
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of BEER88
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dfhhead25
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.52/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.52/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.7/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

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

Tasted in a snifter from draught at Firkin on July 14, 2016.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.61 out of 5 with 6,710 ratings