Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Liked This Beer
4.61 w/ 6,533 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

View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 6,533 |  Reviews: 1,252
Photo of russwilliam
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of neurobot01
4.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage. This beer is phenomenal. Chocolate, candi sugar, roast, oak, bourbon, molasses. I've had Parabola many times, but this year's is really nailing it right out of the gate. I'm sensitive to strong alcohol heat, and I don't think this year's is hot at all (contrary to some other reviews). And the smell... the smell. Omigod.

Previous rating (5/14/14): 4.5

 367 characters

Photo of Jirin
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of dranthony2012
4/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of TaborTime
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Mineo
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of dar482
4.68/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 2,115 characters

Photo of Emilean
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of huntermop
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of zonker17
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of reebtaerG
4.86/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 bottle poured into a Lost Abbey Teku

A-Pours a dark black beer with a tan bubbling head. Some spotty lacing.

S-Smells rye, bourbon, roast coffee and chocolate. Heavenly!

T-Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, roasted coffee and chocolate. Wow!

M-mouthfeel has carbonation in the mouth, medium body and a oily texture. Incredible!

O-Overall this was a fantastic beer! Definitely was glad to have dessert with it. Peanut butter pie + parabola = heaven!

 452 characters

Photo of jaydoc
4.49/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bp123
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Roguer
4.57/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful black body. Dark tan head, ~1 finger. Decent retention for the style and on tap.

Bourbon bourbon and bourbon on the nose, with some chocolate malt and vanilla. Barley and cream in the background.

Very hot beer cold. Tons of bourbon, some chocolate. As it warms, vanilla and coffee really start to come through. Some dark fruit, roast barley, cream, and slightly sour oak. Wood and tobacco.

She's a hot beer; no hiding the ABV. Long, sticky finish. Smooth and thick, certainly for the style. Medium sting, but no foaming.

Incredibly complex BBA Stout. Not as thick and chewy as BCBS, but with deeper character and flavor. IMO a step above KBS. Can't wait to see how age mellows the bourbon heat in this beauty.

 723 characters

Photo of towboatman
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.66/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Insanely delicious. Bourbon forward, yet as it warms, the chocolate and coffee flavors come through. An amazing sipper of a beer in the same category as BCBS. Lots of vanilla flavors, great at first taste, but better on last. The smells are consistent with the taste and are nearly perfect. Full bodied and absolutely beautiful in the glass, with nice head and pitch black body. So glad I was able to score some on tap when I was least expecting it. Life is good.

 463 characters

Photo of KeKeKumba
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of HitchSlap
3.5/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of Masters
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of ThurmondTX
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of Chibeerguy1
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of DrunkAl
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of TheBeerTruck
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of mellon
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of mudboneINla
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98.2% out of 100 with 6,533 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.