Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

6,557 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: 6,557 |  Reviews: 1,254
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look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is of the '14. For sake of comparison I've had the '11 (4.37) and the '12 (4.64) this year. The '12 was really chocolatey and mellow, absolutely delicious. I'll be interested to try the '13.

A - Any time I get to use the phrase 'light-swallowing black' I'm a happy man. I feel that phrase is appropriate here. And now I'm happy. Pours slick, thick and dark into my snifter.

S - Booming bourbon notes lead the chorus. Agitating my snifter releases powerful wafts of booze, and to a lesser extent maple and apple brandy. Bourbon slightly edges out the subtler aromas.

T - The barrel-aging process has certainly left its mark. Bourbon flavours are massive and tempered by sweet vanilla notes. Charred oak kneads the tongue, accompanied by mellowed-out espresso and bittersweet cocoa powder. All these flavours are supported by a solid base of roasted malt. This is not a smokey or peaty stout. Vanilla, bourbon booze and maple syrup are strongest here; followed by the cocoa and coffee. Dark cherry is faint but existent as are rum-infused chocolate truffles if my senses do not deceive me. As in the nose, bourbon character is somewhat at the expense of subtler notes.

M - The flavours in this beer are not playing any games, and the mouthfeel isn't either. As the eyes intimate, this beer is thick and slick. Satisfying viscosity should be easy to achieve for a beer at 14% abv., and in this instance it is. It drinks smoothly, although it is more at the syrupy than the creamy end of the spectrum.

O - A sipper through and through, this beer was a journey, a genuine undertaking at over two hours of drinking. I normally drink pretty quickly, so this was unprecedented. I'll be aging my remaining bottles to see if time can mellow the booziness and the bourbon, allowing the subtler elements and deeply buried characteristics to shine. Nonetheless this was a highly impressive beer which is either a little rough around the ages or as yet still raw. Time will tell.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.61 out of 5 with 6,557 ratings
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