Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

6,461 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: 6,461 |  Reviews: 1,235
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

Photo of Hudson2508
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

2017 bottle. This year's is better than 2016 imo. The differences in my opinion are more of a cherry note this year, and the mouthfeel is thicker. There is also a pleasant lingering nutty note in the aftertaste similar to bravo. Also, not too hot for 14.5%, and a bit browner than I remember in the appearance. Getting phantom stickee monkee notes too. good stuff

 363 characters

Photo of scotorum
4.6/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5


Finally get to try this classic which if I recall correctly was once in the BA top ten but I was never able to find before. At $11/12oz., even more expensive than BCBS. The premium bourbon barrels it is aged in and the length of aging are perhaps part of the reason for that.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a: Opaque black with a hint of clear ruby at the very bottom. Two inch thick tan head receded slowly to dense lacing over even surface foam.

s: Dark roasty malt, chocolate and whiskey

t; Follows the nose with more emphasis on the chocolate and whiskey, which leaves a burning throat from the very high ABV. Sweetish finish. Later, barleywine fruitiness takes over from the initial chocolate notes.

m; Full, great body and moderate carbonation tingle.

o; Outstanding as expected, smoother overall than BCBS, if perhaps a bit lighter. Will still be buying Backwoods Bastard, Central Waters BBA Scotch Ale, Weyerbacher Insanity and New Holland Dragon's Milk for barrel aged darkness, but this may very well top the list, albeit the least accessible and affordable among them and also tasting at times less like an RIS and more like a barleywine.

 1,237 characters

Photo of jyanik9380
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.64/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color with a two finger head. Aroma- a little bit of a Cherry and Bourbon. Soy sauce, chocolate, vanilla. Taste- more cherry and Bourbon. Dark chocolate and coffe in the back end. Mouthfeel- semi thick and coating. Overall- this is 2015. And I've pretty much only though... not as good as Bourbon county. Still good though.

 337 characters

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

Photo of Bum4ever
4.07/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: dark brown with a small amount of light tan head.
S: oak first with some bourbon followed by smoke and something sweet I can't place.
T: charred oak and cherries then light bourbon taste. I personally love bourbon and this seems too light on the heat for me.
F: medium bodied and smooth. Could be thicker but still solid.
O: really good BA stout. At $10 for the 12oz I would prefer Bomb but this is still good.

 417 characters

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,461 ratings.
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