Parabola | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

6,462 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 Buļ¬€alo Trace.

Added by largadeer on 03-26-2008

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Ratings: 6,462 |  Reviews: 1,235
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4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

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4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

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4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

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4.25/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of spoony
4.63/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

From a 650 ml bottle (2012 batch, March 14, 2012 printed on the bottle) into a snifter.

A-The brew is nearly black with only a small glimmer of brown letting light through at the edges of the glass. The dark brown head drops from about a finger to a patchy cap of foam almost immediately, which is not surprising given the ABV. Some ultra-fine carbonation is visible against the glass.

S-This is a great smelling stout (if you like bourbon). I smell a lot of oak, vanilla, and boozy heat., with a touch of caramel in there, too. But the smell is also full of dark, sweet fruit (mostly raisins), herbal black licorice, and lightly bitter malts that give off a baker's chocolate smell. It is very complex and intense, but also quite balanced for being a big booze bomb.

T-The taste mostly follows the smell. This is a high-octane blend of vanilla and oaky bourbon flavors mixing with licorice, booze-soaked dark fruit, and dark chocolate malts. There is a little touch of oats in there that really seems to balance out the heat and character of the bourbon flavors.

M-The feel is medium to light for the style. I think the high ABV actually comes through here and gives it a somewhat thin feeling on the palate. The finish is warm to hot.

O-This beer mostly lived up to its reputation. I sipped it slowly over the course of the evening and enjoyed every drop. The complexity of flavors and mixture between the oaky bourbon and the more traditional RIS flavors like chocolatey malts are really fantastic. This is not a beer for the timid with its 12.5% ABV and prominent booze feel and taste, but for those who like that sort of thing, drink up.

 1,647 characters

Photo of jammalamma
4.75/5  rDev +4.6%

Photo of lordofstarside
4.89/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle, batch #003 into a snifter. Bottled on 3/13/12

Pours pitch black with no transparency on any side of the glass. A finger of dark mocha tinged foam sports some good retention as well as lacing. No real carbonation present, though I can see a few bubbles amassing on the side. Near perfect look, really want to give it a 5 but need to see some better retention.

Was able to smell the beer as soon as I cracked the cap, solid sign that good things are coming my way. Lots going on here- coffee, hops, chocolate, oak, toffee, vanilla, butterscotch, whiskey, alcohol, and a sweet malt. One of the more complex smelling beers I've had in a while

Taste is spot on with the nose- coffee, toffee, bourbon, chocolate, cherry, vanilla, oak, oatmeal, and a touch of alcohol. Flavor is just as complex as the aroma. Quite a lot going on, everything comes together flawlessly

Feel is consistent also, bitter, sticky, and dry. Most all the alcohol is concealed (still a touch of heat), yet this stuff still quite rich has to be sipped to be enjoyed.

Overall this is one of the best beers I've had in quite a while. FW really hits this one out of the park, much of the hype surrounding this beer is justified by how many dimensions it has. Well worth $15 a bottle, I can't wait to age some of these

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.22/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown colour; head is a bit whispier than I'd like. Nice pale beige colour, specks of lace. Looks OK, but thick.

Smells solventy, belying a strong, sweet malt base, with touches of roast underneath that. Peanut, marzipan and a touch of cranberry. Intriguing.

Taste is dark fruit; sweeter & complex with raisins, lots of vanilla and oak, currants, figs and dates with dry spicing - nutmeg, cumin and pepper as well as liquorice. Dark, roasty but with a lot of complex sugars, glaze and spice esters. Very, very nice indeed.

Thick and boozey on the mouthfeel, as you'd expect. Yeah, it definitely feels like 12.5%.

Lots to explore here; I really like that in a beer. When I started out on this particular journey of discovery, I felt disappointed and a bit nonplussed. I wish they'd given me more of a precursor on the look or the smell, because the anticipation and excitement is half of the fun. This doesn't look or smell nearly as good as it is.

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Parabola from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.54 out of 5 based on 6,462 ratings.
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