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Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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6,576 Ratings

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: 6,576 |  Reviews: 1,257
Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.33/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brief re-re-review of the 2014 vintage. Now, I can safely say, Parabola finally lives up to the hype. All the best qualities of the '13 vintage (the depth, the richness, the bourbon character) was here in full force, but - despite being 14% - it wasn't that harsh. The oak was prevalent, but the fusel-y abrasiveness of the '13 was almost perfectly muted this time around. I was really shocked how well balanced this was (especially taking the last 2 vintages into account). Only thing I can really nitpick now is that it was rather sweet - hell, so is BCBS, and look at the score I still gave it! This is everything I hoped Parabola would be ever since I moronically spent $40 for a bottle at a DC bar 2 years ago.

2014: (3.5/4.25/4.5/4.5/4.25)
2013: (3.5/4/4/4/4)
2012: (2.5/3/4.5/3.5/3.5)

Re-review of the 2013 vintage. 22 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown color; it isn't quite as pitch black as the 2012 version. There's more head than the previous vintage, though - a one finger khaki shade. It doesn't last a very long time, however a thin collar of lacing is left on the side of the glass.

S: There's a lot of dark chocolate at first, subtly augmented with a good bourbon character. Concentration will yield additional notes of brown sugar, hazelnut, currants, plums, vanilla, and coconut. I wish the aroma was more 'in-your-face', but I can't at all complain about the decent complexity and relative lack of harsh alcohol.

T: Pleasant dark chocolate and vanilla opens the palate, before it develops a currant-heavy midtaste. The back end is very heavy in charred oak, with some additional roasted malts (a welcome addition compared to last year), and piny hops. The big problem here is how obnoxiously boozy the finish is - especially taking its lack of notable alcohol aroma into consideration. However, much like Sucaba, the harshness seems to decrease the more this is imbibed. Even better, it shows good depth of flavor. At the end of the day, I enjoy it's decent bitterness and bourbon character too much to nitpick its flaws.

M: This seems to be a bit drier on the back of the palate compared to last year. It's just as sticky and viscous, though. The body itself is wonderfully creamy, with a medium texture befitting a barrel-aged RIS. Carbonation isn't terribly strong, and alcohol presence is assertive.

O: Let me start out by saying I'd be lying through my teeth if I said this wasn't a great BA RIS. It presents an excellent bourbon character and a depth others in the style lack. However, it's just too harsh to be world-class in my mind. Still, I'm really intrigued over aging my other bottle for a year to see how it develops.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.61 out of 5 with 6,576 ratings
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