Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Liked This Beer
4.61 w/ 6,535 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: 6,535 |  Reviews: 1,252
Photo of Edvice04
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of NickBeery
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Brolo75
4.85/5  rDev +5.2%
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 +2%
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.

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Photo of trevor_s
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of gfg0020
3.5/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of budsandsuds8
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of markasparov
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of thebeachman
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of jw1978
4.25/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of jayhunter357
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Denzo
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Bedrocker
5/5  rDev +8.5%
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 -7.8%

Photo of 2013beer101
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of BG24
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Claytonbrewsby
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Bonesaw
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of Abbbp
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
4.43/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of likemike
5/5  rDev +8.5%

Photo of UHCougar12
4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Alron
4.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of TruePerception
4.46/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Firestone's Parabola, Bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout. 14% ABV.

A: Just a little tan head. Fades quickly. Pours a rich brown. Pitch black in the glass, with a root beer meniscus. More rich brown in the dimple, with a bright caramel edge. Some very fine lacing. Thin ring of head stays the course.

S: Bourbon apparent as soon as the bottle is cracked! Very nice blend of bourbon and chocolate. Burnt caramel, toffee, dry cocoa/dark chocolate. Not as complex as I was expecting, but a very nice overall aroma!

T/MF: Feels very thick! Creamy. Very deep, dark flavor profile. Very strong, sweet Bourbon flavor up front. Even deeper burnt caramel, bordering on tar or tobacco. Sweet dark chocolate towards the back. Some sweet char, with almost graphite-like notes. Faintest hint of licorice.

I still like the Velvet Merlin better, but certainly a strong beer! Biggest Bourbon presence I've had yet, I think. This seems like a beer that demands rich food accompaniment! ...Speaking of which, I have some salted caramel gelato in the freezer, and it is about dessert time!

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.


Firestone's Parabola 2016, Bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. 13.1% ABV.

A: About a finger of chocolate milk colored head. Black in the glass. Dark honey/light root beer in the dimple. Decent lacing, but it slides right off. Slight sheeting.

S: Dark cocoa and toffee up front. Light char just behind. Oak and vanilla. I'm not noticing any coffee or heat.

T/MF: Rich, bittersweet chocolate dominates. Finishes out with a very light coffee edge. Very dark toffee with just a touch of char. A hint of oak and just a smidge of graphite, edging on licorice. A touch of vanilla and some kind of baking spice at the very end. Very rich and flavorful, with plenty of nice complexity. If I get the chance, I'll have to grab another for aging.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Upped score to reflect current opinion.


Firestone Parabola, Bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout. 14.5% ABV.

A: Two fingers of tan head; a bit light for a stout... Still black in the glass, but in the dimple, it's honey brown. Solid, clear sheeting. Thinner, yet very sticky lacing.

S: Dark, oaky toffee, bordering on char. Semisweet chocolate, approaching that rich chocolate cake, but not quite. Browned caramel.

T/MF: Okay, that is way too boozy right now. I don't get a burn, but it tastes like I have to wade through the alcohol before the flavors hit. Dark, rich char follows, with a touch of toffee. A bit of bittersweet chocolate, but I really should be getting more out of this... Wow, this is a real big let down. It does seem like it will be good after enough time, but I don't know if I want to buy another bottle just to sit on to see, though.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of ChristopherWIU-UTPA
4.37/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is an outstanding beer, that's brewed in small batches, and has a high alcohol content. I pours dark brown, medium sized mocha head, and vivacious carbonation. It has a taste of Kentucky bourbon, Tabaco, and the finest roasted coffee beans. It has a strong edge, with an aftertaste of chocolate and bourbon, and leaves you wanting another sip. This is one to enjoy....

 373 characters

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98.2% out of 100 with 6,535 ratings
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