Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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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 Buffalo Trace.

Added by largadeer on 03-26-2008

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Ratings: 6,513 |  Reviews: 1,247
Photo of TaylorBrake
3/5  rDev -33.9%

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very thankful to BA SammyJaxxx for sending this one along. Enjoyed out of a 22 oz brown bomber with no dating that I can see, however, the vintage, 2011, is clearly printed front and center on the label. Poured into a small old fashioned glass.

Appearance - A moderately-aggressive pour coaxes out a half-finger of cocoa powder colored foam that makes a fizzy show for a few seconds before receding back into a ringlet of bubbles around the edge of the glass and an ethereal tracing of film around the top of the liquid . Lacing is nonexistent, but that's to be expected on a 3 year old BA beer.

Smell - Interestingly, Parabola reminds me a bit in aroma of both Merkin and XVII, so it's hard not to wonder if there is some "house" flavor to FW beers. Wonderfully intoxicating, just short of cloying, notes of graham cracker, coconut, oaky vanilla tannins and a pleasant undertone of baker's chocolate, but not overpoweringly bitter--just a hint of roasted char to bring some balance to the sweeter elements.

Taste - Here the bourbon makes a bit more of an appearance than it did in the smell, with notes of spicy booze adding to the woody elements of the toasted oak. Supporting the estery characateristics are richer flavor profiles of roasted malt, burnt caramel, bittersweet chocolate and vanilla.

Mouthfeel - Just a shade lower than completely full bodied, with a pleasant viscosity that provides a hefty serving dish for the myriad flavors. Carbonation is moderate to low, I'm assuming a bit faded after three years of sitting.

Overall, just a fantastically rich and wonderful barrel aged stout. It's not as thick as I really like my RIS' to be, but I'm honestly quite impressed at the body considering the barrel aging. Firestone Walker really knows what they are doing when it comes to their barrel program. It's just too bad everyone knows that, making their brews hard to come by here in Kansas City.

 1,914 characters

Photo of HoudiniRN
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Edvice04
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of NickBeery
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Brolo75
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type: 22 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass.

Appearance: Pitch black, no hint of red or brown when held up to the light. No head, but there some small bubbles on the top and a little bit around the edges of the beer.

Smell: Huge bourbon smell like nothing I have ever smelled in a beer. The bourbon is overwhelming, this was my second bourbon barrel aged beer, and seem to distract from what I consider a stout to be.

Taste: Huge bourbon taste up front, the alcohol is heavy on the back end, I did not get any of the roasted malts or coffee flavor, all bourbon taste. I am not sure what to think of the bourbon flavor but the beer is incredibly smooth, incredibly.

Mouthfeel: Thick, no carbonation, oily feeling, the low carbonation is strange, I am used to a little carbonation.

Overall: I struggled with the bourbon aroma and flavor, the low carbonation but when this beer is consumed it's world class. It's an awesome sipper, I sipped mine for about 120 minutes. It's a must try. I am hoping to pick another bottle to cellar and see what it likes in a year or two.

 1,099 characters

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

22oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Dark brown cola. Foamy head that settles in <10 seconds. Brown film coats the glass.

S: Huge barrel character; raisins and cherries; vanilla; chocolate; roasted coffee beans. Quite boozy.

T: Like drinking a booze- and vanilla-soaked bar of dark chocolate; dry red fruit; roasted malt; faint tobacco; oak everywhere. Super boozy, but the kind of booze that complements rather than overwhelms everything. Great dryness and mild bitter dark chocolate on the aftertaste.

M: Perfect: creamy, sticky, substantial, and chewy; dry cocoa powder all over the tongue.

O: OK I guess.

 617 characters

Photo of trevor_s
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of gfg0020
3.5/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of budsandsuds8
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of markasparov
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of thebeachman
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of jw1978
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of jayhunter357
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Denzo
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Bedrocker
5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage poured from a 22 oz into a snifter.

A: Black as used motor oil. Pours a small tan head that leaves excellent lacing.

S: First smell I detect is oak and bourbon. Coffee and chocolate are there too, along with a little bit of vanilla. Very sweet smelling, with a slight touch of toasted malt.

T: Incredible. Bourbon and oak start off like in the nose, and then a cascade of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, caramel, dark fruits, and malt. The balance of these flavors is what makes this beer so good. There's a little bit of bitterness in there from the roasted malt, and it pairs extremely well with the sweetness of the beer. The finish is also very sweet, with a chocolate and bourbon aftertaste that covers up a slight amount of booziness.

M: Thick and full-bodied. Not syrupy like some big stouts, but drinks like silk. Warms your throat up as well, which is to be expected from a 14% brew...

O: My favorite barrel-aged stout out there. This is my favorite yearly release from FW, and this year's release was excellent. When I'm drinking this, I savor every last drop. Every sweet, roasty, complex drop.

 1,121 characters

Photo of Thedanielcraig
4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of 2013beer101
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of BG24
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Claytonbrewsby
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Bonesaw
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of Abbbp
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.43/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of likemike
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of UHCougar12
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,513 ratings.
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