Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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6,741 Ratings

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

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: 6,741 |  Reviews: 1,292
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Photo of Joshpu
4.59/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle to a snifter.

A: Poured near black with a dark brown tinge with a finger of beige head.

S: Bourbon, dark fruit, roasty malts, brown sugar, chocolate. Slight hops. As it warms the caramel smell really comes out.

T: Vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, tobacco, coffee, caramel. Some hop bitterness. The sweet caramel/fudge brownie flavors also come out as it warms. Very nice balance of sweet and bitter.

M: Medium to full bodied. Very easily drinkable, I barely detect the alcohol. Somewhat thick feel to it. A very nice balance of sweet and bitter.

Overall a crazy good beer. The balance of flavors is amazing. Easily one of the best stouts I have had.

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4.4/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.56/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. 2013 vintage.

A: Absolute black, as in the absence of light. Little to no head, but this is not unusual for such a large barrel aged beer. Lacing is small and spotty.

S: Sticky dark fudge sauce. Thick, chewy dark caramel. Brown sugar. Hints of espresso and coffee beans. Warming vanilla. Bourbon has a firm but gentle grip on the nose, oak as well. Touch of char and acrid smoke. Bruised prune, fig, and baked apple. Highly complex, wave upon wave of bold new aromas. Excellent.

T: Bakers chocolate, black cocoa. Waves of chewy dark caramel and fudge sauce bring a lot of sweetness. Rolos candy. Double chocolate cake generously topped with a thick chocolate frosting. Mocha and chocolate biscotti. Hints of brown sugar. Bourbon is apparent and assertive, bringing a stiff whiskey punch. It never gets too hot though, as the beer is so big that it can handle it. Subtle fruity undertones of fig and baked apple. Woody vanilla and underpinnings of oak. Hollow hop bitterness, but the counterpoints provided by the oak and bourbon also help to keep the massive malt sweetness from running amok. Infinitely long finish of caramel and fudge with receding bourbon and a kiss of smokey roasted malts.

M: Massively thick and chewy. Very full and round in the mouth with a lot of substance. For all its size and heft, it still does not seem overly weighty. It glides easily over the tongue with a refined and effortless velvety smooth texture. Little in the way of carbonation, but it isn't really needed. Plenty of warming alcohol.

O: Wow. An absolutely enormous beer, but such a pleasure to sip. Hugely complex, but surprisingly lithe on the palate for its size. It's one of the rare beers that not only lives up to the hype, but surpasses it. Firestone Walker's barrel aging and blending programs simply cannot be touched.

Note: Made for an amazing pairing with Sartori Espresso rubbed BellaVitano.

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4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

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4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

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

Been waiting on this one for a special occasion to crack this one. Today was nothing super special however I could count it as spill over from MSU making it to the big ten title game, along with finishing a small project at work. But most importantly it is my 300 reviewed beer, not rated, reviewed!

Bought from Little's Wine and Liquor store over the summer (maybe around July). The specs on this are all posted reserve series 003 from march of 2012. I believe it was aged 12 months in barrels and it was cellaring for around a year and a half.

Shared with some friends and poured into a snifter.

A&S: Lots of dark fruits and sweetness up front. Surprisingly there is a decent amount of oakyness left over even after a year plus of aging. Not as much chocolate or alcohol as expected. Jet black colored beer. Creamy tan head that hangs around in a very thin layer.

T&M: Upfront a pretty powerful amount of bourbon, although bourbon isn't described in the beer label's description. Decent amount of vanilla present upfront and midway through the taste. A present but not overwhelming smokiness in the finish. Other favors include licorice and some sour tones. Dark & milk chocolate along with some alcohol present in the finish. For the most part the alcohol is well hidden. More mild in the taste then I expected. Very creamy feel, medium to high body and lower carbonation (but not completely dead).

Overall: As with all of firestone walker's beers really solid. I had pretty high expectation for this beer, and it lived up to most of them. I would be interested in trying this beer "fresher". I would say it was a little overrated being in the top 10.

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4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

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4.75/5  rDev +3%

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4.5/5  rDev -2.4%

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4.75/5  rDev +3%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.61 out of 5 with 6,741 ratings