Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

6,421 Ratings
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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: 6,421 |  Reviews: 1,224
Photo of metsfan1
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of Stevedore
3.39/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle of Batch #004 served chilled into an unlabeled snifter today, 8/22/2013. Have had this once before but since I'm at home enjoying it on my own, might as well write a complete review.

Pours a dark caramel brown colour, certainly not black but not far from it either. Its got a nice fluffy, bubbly light tan head that dissipates quickly into a bubbly collar, not much in way of film on the surface. Not much lacing to speak of which is fairly typical for a stout like this.

Its got a coconut and chocolate smell coming right out of the snifter. There's a kind of a sticky bourbon sweetness that reminds me of marshmallows, though that's not particularly strong here compared to say, BVDL or Rare. There's some deep flavours murking around here- maybe some toffee, a little bit of oak- but its kind of a mess right now where I can't really pick out one thing. There is a little bit of fusel here as well, unfortunately, which I am not a fan of.

Sipping this beer gives me a nice sweet twang straight up. It's that sweet bourbon. Its heavy on it. Then there's a bit of coconut, vanilla overlying it along with a bit of chocolate. But there really doesn't seem to be as much contribution from the base beer if that makes sense. I don't get the nice sugary chocolatey sweetness of Bourbon County or Black Note, nor is there that roast maltiness or the vanilla-ey creaminess of Assassin or Rare. It tastes like mellowed-out sweet bourbon with a splash of chocolate and tobacco, to be honest. Its not as complex as people make it out to be, in my opinion.

Disappointingly thinner body, on the medium body side. It doesn't have that creamy mouthfeel that you get with Bourbon County for example, but it is rather smooth. Carbonation is just right for the style and the aftertaste is of that sweet bourbon. A decent bit of booziness here, but not enough to deter me here. Its absolutely a sipper here.. not meant for pounding.

Overall, a very good barrel-aged imperial stout that's relatively readily available on the shelf at a solid price point. It showcases the bourbon, but not as well as a beer like Central Waters' Fifteen does.. but then again this is a shelf beer! I guess that "showcasing bourbon" thing is not enough to impress me these days.. plenty of BA stouts do a good job of that already. I just would like the base beer to stand out more in these types of beers. Otherwise, you might as well splash some bourbon in a non-BA stout. That being said, it's a good example of a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout so don't let my opinion prevent you from trying this beer. It's certainly worth drinking anytime.

 2,630 characters

Photo of SGToliver
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of beerloverofbham
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of C_S
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of detrockcitey
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of unclekeith
4.48/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Hopheadhiker
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of UpToMeBeer
4.98/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2012. Aged the bottle a bit over one year. Drank it tonite. This is just so classic. Complex. Layers of revelations. The only beer that arguably surpasses it that I know of in this category is Goose Island's Bourbon County (which I think has the edge in terms of a viscous "motor-oil" quality). Clearly, Firestone is at the top of their game here, and this version is probably even better than the prior two years.... I think this version has a little extra sweetness that takes some edge off the bourbon.

 505 characters

Photo of ianroodt
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of Zoso2772
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of Haywire
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of kevrice88
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Mattco
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of JohnBender
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Lamdawg420
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of BeersAndBears
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Theortiz01
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of smitherz22
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of aquazr1
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of Bob402
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of mre0683
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of jefflong3323
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of matt_6
4/5  rDev -11.9%

Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,421 ratings.
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