Firestone 23 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 23 - Anniversary AleFirestone 23 - Anniversary Ale
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Strong Ale - American
4.34 | pDev: 6.91%
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: 60 | Ratings: 148 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Sparky44:
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Sparky44 from Illinois

4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 27, 2020
More User Reviews:
Photo of Duster1354
Duster1354 from Missouri

3/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nov 22, 2019
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SiepJones from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Jan 02, 2020
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Saylor from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 30, 2020
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JLK7299 from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 13, 2020
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maximum12 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had a lot of these over the years, & most have shadowed greatness. Hoping for another coming out of this 12 oz. stubby bottle.

The beer pours a gorgeous bronzed ruby that appears to glow from within like a pregnant strong ale. The nose is world class: strong bourbon, candied fruits/especially plum, vanilla, booze. Damn, man.

Firestone 23 is a master class in blending, allowing all the flavors to breathe without one stomping on the throat of the others. Very faithful to the nose: lovely plum, plenty of bourbon, horn of fruits, vanilla, with a long finish of sweet toffee leavened with a touch of maple syrup. Barring sugar induced mania, I could drink a lot of this. I’m afraid this might be my only bottle.

Magnificent. Borderline elite beer that belongs in the Anniversary Series.

Feb 24, 2020
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BabaBeer from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jan 02, 2020
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Apellonious from North Carolina

4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Black with brown highlights , a half finger of light tan head that moves a couple mm layer of creme before the 1st sip. The aroma is nougat, bourbon barrel, hazelnut, chocolate , and some cocoa powder. The taste is well blended, getting more of the tequila and oak barrels with the bourbon barrel and chocolate. Slight amount of heat. Vanilla. Balance. Mouthfeel is creamy, enough carbonation to hold it together, though it’s a low amount. Overall, a delicious blend.

Jan 12, 2020
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +6%
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
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Lucular from Maryland

4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

5 oz pour on tap. Pours near black with amber hues. Aroma and flavor feature toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark malts, caramel, cream, and hints of dark fruit (raisin, date, fig). Complex and very smooth for the abv.

Feb 18, 2020
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beerrat from Virginia

4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dec 13, 2019
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Firestone Walker XXIII Anniversary Ale 2019 Vintage American Strong Ale, 11.5% ABV. Pours black with a one-finger tan head which left some sticky-looking lacing. Nose is sweet caramel, roast malt, and chocolate. Taste is bourbon, sweet caramel/toffee, chocolate, roast malt, cola, and nuts, with a slight bitter close. Excellent mouthfeel, overall outstanding. This is an incredible mix of Stickee Monkee, Parabola, Bravo, BBA Helldorado, Velvet Merkin, and Tequila Barrel Helldorado. This beer is as "busy" as Abyss, developing more flavors as it warms. Included is a note from the brewer, which I didn't read, just checked "I Agree".

Feb 23, 2020
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BucannonXC5 from California

4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Reviewed as: American Strong Ale
Glass: Pure Project 16-oz. brandy snifter glass
Price: $11.99
From: Trader Joe’s in Milpitas (Santa Barbara), Calif.
Purchased: Dec. 24, 2019
Consumed: Dec. 30, 2019
Misc.: No bottled on date

Picked this up with a bunch of other stuff for my Christmas in Montecito. Was excited to see this at what seemed a reasonable price of $11.99. Guessing this would be in the 4.20-to-4.30 range since four of the five anniversaries I had before were from 4.19 and 4.32 with the lone exception being last year (22nd), which I gave a 4.42. This year’s blend shakeout was 28 pct. Stickee Monkee, 28 pct. Parabola, 20 pct. Bravo, 15 pct. BBA Helldorado, 5 pct. Velvet Merkin and 4 pct. Tequila Barrel Helldorado. Brewmaster Matt Brynildson described it as, “This year the winemakers created a blend that is elegant and seamless. In fact, I don’t recall a year when a blend stood so apart from the others in terms of texture. Whether it is the crème brûlée of Helldorado connecting with the smooth milk chocolate of Velvet Merkin; or the mortar-like quality of our tried and true Bravo keeping the Bourbon-soaked cherry notes of Parabola and the vanilla-caramel bricks of Stickee Monkee tuckpointed and aligned—these beers just flow together into an incredible way which no single beer could have accomplished.”

Poured a very dark, almost black color with two fingers of light khaki tan frothy head. Could see a few bubbles coming up along the sides of the glass, but not many. Outstanding spotty lacing. Outstanding retention. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled milk chocolate, chocolate syrup, vanilla, big booze, wood, caramel, brown sugar, toasted coconut, chewy toffee, dark fruit and light bourbon barrel. Pretty much the same from the bottle, maybe more chocolate. (Smell - 4.25)

Very interesting on the taste. The first thing I thought was how sugary and smooth it was, but with the spice at the end. In order got milk chocolate, chocolate syrup, vanilla, bitter woody barrel, smooth bourbon, light lingering tequila barrel, chewy toffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar and dark fruit. (Taste - 4.00)

Full body. Sticky-to-creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.50)

Excellent beer overall, but toward the bottom from what I’ve had so far. (Overall - 4.25)

4.18 | 93 | A-

Mar 20, 2020
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DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown reminiscent of cola. A little thin looking with a half a finger of head formation.

Nose is bourbon, wood, brown sugar, malt, booze, those distinct hops from Helldorado, mild notes of cocoa. Not as barrel strong as the Anniversary 22.

Taste is bourbon, brown sugar, malt, hoppiness. A nice mix but not as memorable as the 22nd.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Quite lively. Enjoyable.

Feb 02, 2020
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Skabiski from Maryland

4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nov 30, 2019
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crobinso from Colorado

4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dec 13, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
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
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Dougwillhike from New Jersey

4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jan 01, 2020
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BeanBump from California

3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Its an impressive beer inn that they were able to mix together so many other BA beers to land on this. At the same time, the blending also causes this beer to not particularly stand out with any one flavor. Its very good, dont get me wrong it just tastes like a bunch of BA beers mixed together rather than a beer of it's own. A solid offering perhaps not quite worth the price tag

Dec 30, 2019
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stmoorea from Illinois

3.47/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Jan 10, 2020
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jmbeerdude91 from Arizona

4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Jan 12, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Had 2/28/20.

Pours a dark brown, semi opaque, with a half inch head and light cling. Aromas of bourbon, grapes, plums, toffee, cocoa, oak, vanilla, malt, some char, light chocolate. Flavors of bourbon, caramel, plums, malt, vanilla, cocoa, light chocolate, oak, some grapes, light tobacco. Smooth, a very good medium to full body, well carbonated.

This is an excellent blend. Great aromas and flavors, no part of the blend stands above the others. Wonderfully executed.

Apr 08, 2020
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5toutman75 from Illinois

4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Always love this beer each year and this iteration doesn’t disappoint. Expensive but worth it. Easier to find than they used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeking out. I love the rich caramel and toffee flavors. There’s enough of the alcohol heat to keep it interesting too. It’s sweet, but not cloying.

Dec 24, 2019
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Harrison8 from Missouri

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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
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grover37 from District of Columbia

3.82/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

$11++ for a 10oz pour at Ginger Man in Manhattan.

Sweet, a bit weird, must be the tequila. Not very good fresh, give it a year or two to come together...

Jan 01, 2020
Firestone 23 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 148 ratings