Firestone 23 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 23 - Anniversary AleFirestone 23 - Anniversary Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Strong Ale - American
4.35 | pDev: 6.67%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Firestone 23 - Anniversary AleFirestone 23 - Anniversary Ale
Stickee Monkee | 28%
Parabola | 28%
Bravo | 20%
Bourbon Barrel Helldorado | 15%
Velvet Merkin | 5%
Tequila Barrel Helldorado | 4%
View: Beers
Reviews: 68 | Ratings: 168 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rand
rand from California

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a chalice.

Dark brown brew, moderate carbonation, minimal head. Wafts of leather and caramel. Oaky. Flavors are rich and sweet and full of molasses. Lighter complexion than expected. Distinct notes of vanilla. These anniversary ales roll on year after year, familiar but enigmatic. Each one as delicious as the last.

Saturday at 11:48 AM
Photo of Limazulu
Limazulu from Idaho

4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- dark mahogany, minimal khaki head, nice color
S-beguiling sweet caramel and vanilla
T-The bourbon comes out here, with a number of complimentary flavors you don't get in a few-note barrel aged stout. Dark fruits, some molasses. Average sweet, average bitter.
M-Medium (+) body, below average carbonation, smooth and creamy for the slightly lighter than expected body.
O-The influence of the quad is signifianct, and it creates a very unique strong dark ale.

Jan 05, 2021
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Firestone Walker tulip. One year old, properly cellared bottle. Pours a very dark mahogany brown and a quarter finger dark khaki head with great retention and good lacing. Aroma of caramel, molasses, figs and raisins, a little dark malt and bourbon bourbon. Flavor is semi-sweet dark caramel malt, bourbon, dried plums, vanilla, dates, raisins, a little rum, woody oak. Medium bodied with light creaminess. As always, a rich, strongly flavored ale that exhibits the character of the stouts, barleywines and porters in its mixture. This one had some tequila Helldorado, but it is barely detectable and then only because I was looking for it. Delicious and fine, I see no reason for this not to be my traditional New Year's Eve beer in the future as it has in the past. And lately it's been in a much more approachable 12 ounce bottle.

Jan 01, 2021
Photo of beerbully
beerbully from New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L-Pours a very dark mahogany......thin head that settles into a cap......lacing is moderate to thin

S-Woody bourbon barrel notes upfront with some chocolate swirling around......molasses, brown sugar, caramel.......

T-Can taste the quad....dark fruits and some belgian esters.....some bitter roasty chocolate....some fruity sweetness at the finish black cherries with lingering boozy Manhattan aftertaste

F- a bit fizzy with some carb bite......medium body.....

O- The sum is greater than the parts.....highly complex with a bunch of flavors that meld together rather well

Dec 17, 2020
Photo of IvoryFoxhole
IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like I aged this for a year. Don't even recall buying it, to be honest. 12 oz. bottle, poured into BCBS glass and allowed to warm.

L: About a 1F fizzy tan head. Hangs around a little longer than I expected and leaves a tan ring. Beer is very dark brown, you can see a touch of brownness when held to the light.

S: Caramel, unsweetened chocolate, black cherry, hints of vanilla (bravo for restraint here), very understated oak. This really is an amazing blend - getting the Parabola and Stickee Monkee to get along like that is difficult enough.

T: Caramel, vanilla, black cherry, dried dark fruits, unsweetened chocolate, oakiness, a tiny bit of alcohol heat, roughly in that order.

F: Full-bodied, not much in the way of carbonation. A real accomplishment in construction, putting all those flavors together and making them come out balanced. A bit of heat, maybe more aging would mellow that a bit.

O: Tasty. Get some if you can find it.

Dec 13, 2020
Photo of Guaro
Guaro from Italy

4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown with ruby ​​reflections, coarse beige foam with fast fading. On the nose it is a riot of nuances. It is perceived bourbon, vanilla, coconut, wood, molasses, chocolate, light coffee, cherries in alcohol. Soft and sweet entry, malt, chocolate, caramel, subsequently balanced by rich toasted tones and slightly hopped tones on herbaceous and earthy tracks. Milk chocolate, roasting and tobacco aftertaste. Very long finish with an ethyl bourbon embrace with a very gentle note of tequila. Full-bodied, round and velvety, the carbonation is low.

Oct 13, 2020
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is opaque mahogany black with a moderate but dense tan head settling to a creamy blanket with a curled ridge that retains very well.

Chocolate, caramel and toffee are definitely there in equal measure, alongside a little hoppy barleywine character.

The silky but medium-light body is slick actually, with a fine condensed firm carbonation, finishing semi-dry with a tingly warmth and a light sting, exhaling a bit peppery.

There's a unique level of oakiness that is present but unobtrusive, more as a splintery accent up front without harming the middle and end, which is lightly herbal, while also deeply caramelized and charred, emulating vanilla bean at times. It's a nice sort of crispy woody toffee caramel roast to it with some nuttiness developing really solid barrel qualities.

Oct 13, 2020
Photo of Beersnake1
Beersnake1 from California

4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up recently. Poured at fridge temp. Color is black with a nice amount of tan head. The nose brings up memories of Stickee Monkee and Parabola. Huge notes of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and marshmallow. The typical roasted malts from Parabola aren't there. This is smooth as butter. The taste mirrors the nose nicely, although the Parabola influence is more evident on the taste. Still, big notes of bourbon, sweet toffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, cherries, raisins, roasted malts, leather, and maybe a touch of coffee. The mouthfeel is robust and thick. The aftertaste is sweet and bitter, and wonderful. Overall, this is a home run for me.

Oct 12, 2020
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Georgia

4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Good head production for the style, and similarly good retention. Body is a very dark brown, more an imperial brown than a stout, befitting the blend.

Nose is nutty and malty up front, with notes of caramel, brown sugar, honey, and pecan, before the barrel influence comes through, leading with bourbon mash, oak, vanilla, and coconut. Wonderfully malt-forward and rich. As is typical with a beer this rich and complex, every sniff is rewarding, yielding more and more depth.

A touch harsher and brighter up front than the nose, surely due to the contribution of Bravo and two variants of Helldorado. Tons of oak. Very quickly, it smooths out, and starts giving way to the sweet malty notes of Stickee Monkey and Parabola: brown sugar, caramel, toffee, some dark fruit, and then chocolate, toast, and molasses. With the extensive emphasis on BBA brews in this blend, there's little room for tequila notes to stand out - but yes, very much so, to the bourbon. Leans closer to BBA Quad/BSDA than BBA stout - again, no surprise, given the overall blend.

Smooth, rich, a nice but gentle warming boozy heat.

With every Anniversary Ale featuring a different blend, every one is a different experience - and everyone ages differently. A fair horizontal is obviously impossible, so you're left with your fading memory of previous years as a benchmark for each new iteration.

Given all that, I suspect this is not my favorite, but it's damn, damn good, and fully worthy of carrying on FW's rich tradition of anniversary blends. A masterful ale.

Sep 18, 2020
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu from New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Rich burgundy pour when back-lighted, is a soft ashy black tone in the vessel. Creamy velvet tan head has a delicate appearance at one finger with a moderate rate of retention. An easy rise of soothing effervesce fills the vessel with micro bubbles providing a relaxing atmosphere.

S: Rich creamy chocolate first appears on the nose, tons of vanilla sweetness with some burnt fudge and burnt wood ash offerings. Black cherries adds a rich dark fruity touch, along with some whiskey notes of generally good strength. Dark coffee roast, soft bitterness, with an earthy appeal.

T: The flavor was equally as dark and lovely, boozy chocolate with some wood ash and silty smooth campfire remains. Dark fruit, again black cherries, plums, adds a ripeness and juiciness to the flavor that is sweetened with an addition of vanilla coffee. Dark overcooked brownies, with warming whiskey and oaky barrel flair, The boozy chocolate nature is the key here and shining star.

M: Mouthful is silty smooth with a dense fullness. Full bodied, rich, and softly carbonated with a mineral velvet after feel.

O: A full and rich body stout, with a smokey and burnt chocolate flavor. Silty campfire ash with just the right amount of alcohol accents.

Sep 12, 2020
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer from Georgia

4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very nice beer, super smooth with lots of nuanced flavors- I'm not even going to try to name them all, or guess at where they come from given the insane number of fantastic beers that went into this blend. I'll just say that even though I just had this, I was surprised and pleased that there were no oxidized flavors- which I often find in older barrel aged beers. Everything was seamless. I'm also surprised by how relatively light the body was for the beers that went into making this, and how drinkable it was for the abv.

Sep 06, 2020
Photo of LifesAnesthesia
LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Deep brown with amber highlights and a tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly leaving behind a thin cap and minimal lacing.
S - Rich malt and barely, sweet bourbon, charred oak, figs, caramel, raisin, cherries, chocolate, molasses,
T - Very complex but largely follows the nose: Tons of rich caramel and sweet bourbon up front and throughout, roasted malt and barely, charred wood and earth notes, nuttiness, brown sugar, smoke, figs, raisins, and dates as well as other dark fruits, dark chocolate, molasses, nutmeg and other spices.
F - Medium to full bodied with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. Smooth, soft, and rich.
O - Incredibly well done American strong ale - great complexity and flavor profile

Aug 29, 2020
Photo of firesidewithphil
firesidewithphil from Illinois

4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 23rd Anniversary Ale from Firestone is a blend of multiple base beers. Every year they select a new formula. I was drawn in because 28% of the beer consists of Parabola, my favorite Firestone offering. The beer is complex and sticky. It also comes with this awesome paper scroll that fully details all that went into the beer.

IG: @firesidewithphil

Aug 29, 2020
Photo of CHickman
CHickman from New York

4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours very dark brown color with a 2+ finger thick foamy tan head that faded in average to slow time, leaving decent spotty lacing. Smells of brown sugar, tobacco, bourbon, faint vanilla, cocoa powder, oaky notes, port wine, mild peppery spices, dark fruit and malty aromas throughout. Very complex, yet nothing jumps out as the dominant component but the overall combination is phenomenal.

The taste is as good as the aroma, and every year I look forward to tasting this brew. Each year the nuances are different but for the most part it’s a wonderful flavor experience. XXIII has of lot of the same lineup as the smell with brown sugar, tobacco, port wine, oaky or woody notes, bourbon, faint vanilla, cocoa powder, mild peppery spices, dark fruit and rich malt like pumpernickel raisin bread. Nice additions of piney notes, rye, dark rum and brownie batter tie in spices to keep the sweetness minimized while allowing for excellent drinkability at this stage in the aging process. It’s really smooth, complex and in some ways different with each sip. If I could stockpile this I would, it’s another world class anniversary beer from Firestone Walker.

Aug 18, 2020
Photo of HattedClassic
HattedClassic from Virginia

4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a nice khaki brown and creamy head that dissipates fairly quickly while the beer itself has an opaque and very dark brown that almost looks black with a slight purple hue to it.

The smell is pretty good. It has a sweet caramel malt note upfront mixed with a good bourbon and light honey note. There are also some sweet chocolate notes towards the end as the beer warms up. Also, some light bread that is buried beneath everything else.

The taste is fantastic. It's a good mix of the various barrel aged offerings that usually come out one at a time. Like the smell, sweet caramel and bourbon notes come upfront and finish with a lightly bitter and sweet chocolate taste in the finish. Unlike the smell, some bitter orange hop note comes out in the middle alongside a light boozy note too.

The feel is good. It has a heavy body but is extremely smooth and silky. The texture is a bit thin but more so easily drinkable as opposed to watery.

Overall, a fairly delicious cuvee and one worth getting as a nice dessert beer.

Aug 15, 2020
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from shiny cardboard box. I always love reading the passion in the scroll contained.

Pours a light brown from the bottle which forms a more ruddy darker brown color bordering on chocolate, with a beige 1/2 finger of bubbly head. I give this a 5 because of the box and contents of said box. It's so awesome, every year.

Aroma is like holiday pudding. Tons of interesting and complex aromas of sticky pecan, nutmeg, fig pudding, molasses, apples, whiskey, and slight lime zest.

Flavor is primarily nuts and whiskey - pecan mainly, but some walnut and other unspecified nuttiness as well. Some grapefruit peel comes in, as well as the fruity apple, vanilla, more whiskey, and fig. Apple on the finish, with whiskey sting.

Feel is a bit watery to start, and then thickens up right away, with lots of stinging carbonation and stinging alcohol heat. Decidedly medium bodied, with slickness and slight resinousness on the finish. Lingering heat burning the cheeks and tongue.

Overall, a bit unfocused, messy, and eerie beer from Firestone, but it seems to stick a landing nonetheless. Perhaps it's the saturation of barrel that keeps it grounded. Non barrel-aged, I think this would be a disaster. This was better than last year's white box Gin & Juniper mess, but price considered, I'm glad I only picked up one.

Price paid : $12.99 / bottle
Would buy again : Unavailable now, but no.

Jul 26, 2020
Photo of WickedBeer
WickedBeer from Alabama

4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Forgot to rate when I had it. Firestone Walker Tap Takeover at International Tap House - St. Louis, 02/01/2020.

Molasses, caramel, fruit on the nose. Getting a bit of a hoppy bitterness initially, combined with a good amount of chocolate & booze. Thinner than expected, but drinking nicely.

Jul 13, 2020
Photo of teromous
teromous from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I don't see a date listed on the bottle.

Appearance: The body is black with some deep mahogany browns around the edges where light shows through. It has a very short khaki head that fades quickly into a very fine ring around the glass with medium and small bubbles around the edge. There are very tiny bubbles that slide in the glass but no real lacing.

Aroma: It smells like brown sugar and caramel with a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Up front there is brown sugar and dates, with an oak wood flavor; hints of vanillin. The middle of the tongue has much of the same but a bit more toffee. The back end of the tongue has toffee as well. The aftertaste is coffee with a hint of dark chocolate. It has some nice flavor notes but they taste very muted.

Mouthfeel: The real ringer here is the mouthfeel. It is the pride and joy of this beer, hands down. There is this full body that is smooth and velvety. It dances across the tongue and makes every sip a joy to drink. It is truly remarkable.

Overall: the beer comes with a lot of fanfare, including a full color box and a large double-sided letter from the brewer. It seems like a lot of effort was put into this beer, but there is one key note on the neckerchief of this bottle which reads "BEER BEFORE GLORY." The beer will speak for itself. It is a very good beer and the texture is world class, but the flavors feel muted and the aroma is not the greatest. It is an interesting and good tasting beer but it doesn't feel noteworthy. It's worth buying if you want to experience a Firestone Anniversary Ale but otherwise the stand-alone Firestone beers are more likely to be more worth your time.

Jul 12, 2020
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown that carries just a few blonde hairs that keep it from being full black. Most likely the 15% Helldorado (a blonde barleywine) added to this blend. Head is a finger of creamy, khaki foam. Head retention is good. Aroma is an earthy dessert bar, bringing up notes of raisins, figs, toffee, nutmeg, molasses, rye with toasty, nutty, earthy and roasty malts. A twinge of bourbon and tequila add a light playful kiss of heat to the back, not enough to make it unbalanced, rather just enough to add contrast within the depths. Flavor profile is much more 'sugar forward', bringing notes of sweet toffee, molasses, candied sugar and caramel right to the onset. A little rye and earthy, grassy hops add a light shade of spice and bitterness before roasty, toasty, nutty and earthy malts consume the rear portion of the flavor profile. Bourbon and tequila add a little heat and dry spice to the finish. Mouth feel is thick with a very light creaminess to the texture. Texture centers more along the lines of a fine grit. Overall, depth is huge here, but balanced out well. Tequila is a little polarizing, but is well calculated and utilized well.

Served in a 15.5oz Speigalau tulip from a 12oz bottle.

Jul 03, 2020
Photo of dbl_delta
dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into pint glass. Pours an oily black with a light amber head. Initial impression is milk chocolate, molasses, caramel, bourbon, a little hops bitterness, vanilla - the list goes on, with different notes coming to the fore as it warms. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Finish is sweet and sticky, gradually morphing to a slight residual bitterness at the back of the throat. This stuff is delicious - get you some!

Jun 20, 2020
Photo of CraigDeMoss
CraigDeMoss from Kansas

4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap, poured into tulip

Dark brown to deep black with one finger mocha foam head. Ok retention, soon after a ring forms with a tentacled archipelago. No real lacing to be had.

Bready malt, milk chocolate, caramel and molasses. Reminds me of BA ten-fidy

Chocolate, coffee, caramel and brown sugar, rye bread and nice bitter hopping.

Sticky and sweet, full umami with a balanced bitterness to warming booziness. Chewy

Awesome amalgamation of some heavy hitters from the firestone crew. Would gladly have another in the cooler months

Jun 06, 2020
Photo of GrumpyGas
GrumpyGas from Illinois

4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter shows a muddy brown body that glows a clear orangish brown when backlit. A 1/4" dirty white head of mixed bubbles audibly releases to leave merely an edge-hugging ring. Sheets of spotted lacing, on agitation, run back to the ring.

Aromas of caramel, molasses, chocolate, bourbon and dark stone fruits entice more and more sniffs leading to more and more pleasurable sips.

The flavors match the aromas and really excite the palate. A very complex blend with identifiable contributors that demands attention: not to merely appreciate, that comes easy; but to envision, and ogle, the process of brewing, from ingredient selection through to the ultimate blend.

Mouthfeel is tongue-coatingly smooth, warming, and leaves a slight grittiness behind.

Overall a satisfying, easy drinking, masterpiece.

Jun 04, 2020
Photo of mschrei
mschrei from Illinois

4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

First off, I was able to get a bunch of this beer over the last two years, and I’m glad. It’s excellent. Second, great beer with a cigar (having a Rocky Patel Decade with it). Dark brown with lightening edges. Smell is straight up barrel with brown sugar and molasses notes underneath. Taste is sweet dark sugar and bourbon, bourbon, bourbon. More bourbon, please. Feel is big bold bodied and boozy. Did I say I need more bourbon? Definitely can tell this is a combination of a quad, a stout, and a Barleywine with... what was it? Oh yeah, BOURBON. I love Firestone Walker’s barrel aged program.

May 25, 2020
Photo of ovaltine
ovaltine from Indiana

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours almost black in the center of the body and fades quickly to a dark mahogany brown at the edges, all under a light tan head. The nose hits me first with booze, but not distractingly so, and rich caramel and vanilla notes (thank you Stickee Monkey) quickly jump in.

The caramel and vanilla flavors are really forward, with the booze in the background, along with some rich chocolate flavors (thank you Parabola) for depth.

I really admire Firestone-Walker for the diversity of their beer portfolio, and for their adventurous barrel program. They are truly a gem, IMHO.

May 11, 2020
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Light carbonation with an above average body. Slick slightly oily feel
Aroma is raisins, molasses, dark fruit, brown sugar, boozy, alchohol
Taste is bourbon, alcohol, dark fruit molasses, brown sugar.
Excellent ,well made ,very flavorful beer with an excellent body

May 09, 2020
Firestone 23 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 168 ratings