Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 12 - Anniversary AleFirestone 12 - Anniversary Ale
303 Ratings
Firestone 12 - Anniversary AleFirestone 12 - Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by barleywinefiend on 11-09-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 303 |  Reviews: 187
Reviews by drowland:
Photo of drowland
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

7/23/10. HUGE thanks to mikey711 for this puppy! Had alongside 13 and Port Older Viscosity, and this was my clear favorite! Dark brown pour with a fading khaki head. Huge barrel aroma - oak, vanilla, coconut, and more. The flavor is much the same with an awesome roasty bitterness in there as well. Love it!!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Jeffo
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from bring many moons ago. Thanks for the trade man!

From a bomber into a snifter
Drunk in comparison with FW 13th Anniversary

APPEARANCE: Exactly the same as the 13. Transparent black pour yields a medium sized, medium looking, light tan head with good retention. Black, transparent body with no carbonation evident. Head fades to light wisp and ring. A splotchy wisp and ring remain and leave dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Big bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut sweet cream and dark chocolate on the nose. Very aromatic. Light espresso as well. Really nice, bold, with lots of barrel and dark chocolate. Just like the 13 but a touch bigger.

TASTE: Big beer for sure. Bourbon and oak up front, with sweet cream and milk chocolate at the swallow. Bold and lingering finish with more barrel character, oak, vanilla, sweet cream and alcohol. Nice layers of bitter, pure chocolate, licorice and a touch of roasted grain offer a solid foundation. This is very similar to the 13 with the same stout-like base beer harmonizing really well with the barrel.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, smooth as well, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers on the palate. Identical to the 13.

OVERALL: A wonderful creation all around. I can only assume that this blend worked out so well that FW decided to do the same thing for their 13th Anniversary, as the two beers are virtually identical on the senses. A very robust, stout-like base beer lends a superb foundation for the bold and complex barrel components. Really enjoyed this and would love to drink it, or the 13 for that matter, over and over again. Thanks again for the beers bring. This was really good.

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Photo of abeerdude
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Tedwarhc
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

Hell yeah, back again for another year. Twelve years, so 12-percent ABV makes sense, right? Black in color with small bubbles that roll around in a somewhat viscous liquid for a nice cap of head. Big aroma with a sharpness of wood, thick with vanilla beans and a slight boozy character, becomes a sweet, truffle-like nose. Thick body, slightly syrupy with a slick and smooth mouthfeel. The alcohol drops a hammer on the palate with a stinging warmth that fades quickly. There is an edge of fusel flavor that tries to dominate, but the maltiness is too big to jump over. Lots of wood flavor, a little tannin and vanilla. Maltiness lays down a coating of sweetness and toasted bread character, showing some balance. Roasted flavors hit middle to end with faint charcoal, unsweetened dark chocolate and a dark-roasted coffee. Finishes sweet with lingering vanilla, wood and roasted tones.

An epic beer; believe the hype. Firestone Walker has helped bring barrel-aged beer closer to the forefront. A sublime sipper.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle shared with Josh and Jaquie. Pours dark brown with some some red highlights. Lots of bouron and vanilla goodness in the nose. Really nice and robust. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, some smoke, a bit of heat, and even kind of chocolaty. Very full bodied and a malty dry finish with a long boozy finish. This a real good beer, but its just like a glass of bourbon.

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Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to tpd975 for this brew obtained in a trade. Greg, in case you are reading this, I still will kick your ass come fantasy football season!

Dark amber in color. Almost no head. Nice lacing as you sip it. Smell is mostly bourbon & carmel. A hint of something sweeter is also there in the taste: maybe vanilla. Mouthfeel is smooth but you can feel the 12% ABV. A top notch brew worth seeking.


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Photo of magictrokini
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Beverages 4 Less. Pours viscous, opaque brown with mahogany edges. Short and thick off-white head. Slight lacing. Rich, oaky bourbon aroma. Vanilla, tobacco, leather, and chocolate abound. Smooth, heavy mouthfeel with very little carbonation. Full bourbon taste with swirling chocolate, caramel malt, vanilla, and licorice. Drinks like a cognac. Very alcoholic, but no ethyl flavors. More porter-like flavors than stout, but both are present. Delicious. Easily one of the best of this year.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle (2008)

Thanks for opening this with me, BdubleEdubleRUN!

(Aged for 3.5 years)

Nearly black throughout with a nicely sized dark brown head that leaves sticky lines of lacing down the glass. Gorgeous and decadent.

The aroma isn't particularly expressive, which is a big surprise after tasting this beer. There's some chocolate and barrel character, but nothing particularity expressive. What's here is still very nice.

The flavor is amazingly chocolate-forward without ever being too sweet, rich, or filling. The chocolate flavor comes in layers, rounded nicely by barrel, bourbon, brownie, vanilla, and coconut. This is simply sublime. All traces of alcohol are gone.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. A sipper though I motored through my glass it was so simply delicious.

Just fantastic. This doesn't seem as complex as Firestone 13 or 14, but it's just as delicious.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.87/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an inky black color, with a tan head that faded slowly, leaving a good lacing.

This beer has a strong vanilla aroma. I can detect some hints of oak. A nice mild bourbon aroma is present as well. Sweet caramel and toffee mix in. There is a plethora of aromas in this beer.

This beer tastes like it smells. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, caramel, toffee, figs. The beer has a lot of different flavors, but they go well toghether.

This beer is incredably well balanced. It is full bodied, with low carbonation, suiting the style. The alcohol is well hidden in very aspect of this drinking experience.

This beer is very smooth, making it somewhat easy todrink. It alcohol content is pretty high though.

Overall: This was a great beer. I have one more, and I will probaby age it for a few years. I wish I had more.

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Photo of glid02
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by a generous soul – much obliged!

Pours black with a tan head that leaves solid lacing.

Smells of lightly roasted malts, mild molasses, heavy vanilla, dark chocolate, and slight whiskey spiciness. As it warms the aroma sweetens with more vanilla.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Equal amounts of roasted malts and dark chocolate up front are quickly joined by sweet black molasses. Midway through, vanilla and whiskey smooth things out. Near the end hints of oak come into play, carrying through to a mildly bitter ending. Mouthfeel is very good, with grainy carbonation.

Overall this is my favorite of the series, taking a slight lead over the XI I had quite a while back. A superb beer and one that’s well worth a shot.

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Photo of girllovesbier
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of GilGarp
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Another incredible beer at one unbelieveable birthday party. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about.

Tasting served in a St. Bernardus goblet. It pous a very dark brown color with redish highlights. Very little head and no lacing but good clarity.

Aroma is really nice with a caramel toffee sweetness and subtle alcohol.

Flavor is fantastic with great dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and nuts. It has a lot of depth to it and something new comes forward with every warming sip. Flavor is fairly sweet but also nicely balanced with ample hop bitterness and a drying finish from the alcohol. Despite this, it never seems burning or fusel.

Mouthfeel is very full bodied with an almost syrupy feel and very low carbonation.

Overall a great beer that I would love to have in my cellar for a few years.

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Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of BrittQ
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to a very patient barleywinefiend for this bottle.

Pours an impenetrable black color with a nice light tan head that retains fairly well leaving pretty good lacing.

nose is interesting. Not as roasty as I was expecting. Im getting a lot of oak and vanilla though, indicative of fairly significant barrel aging, as is the FW anny custom. Actually do get a tiny bit of a hop kiss in the nose as well.

Hmmm. Pretty tasty stuff. wow. Starts off less than impressive, but man o man, does this one get good. Out of the gate there is some slight roasted malt, and a bit of sugar. Then the flavor quickly quickly quickly jumps into vanilla, massive oakiness and thick chocolate notes. The finish approaches with slight bitterness. Man, this is the first beer I have had in a while that all of the best part of the flavor profile is after the finish. Major creamy vanilla and chocolate notes ride on an oak canoe through a stream of slight coffee notes. Sorry to get all Robert Frost on you. The aftertaste is nearly endless, with a compromising of all these flavors. Man, this one just keeps changing and changing, like an everlasting gobstopper all through each sip.

Mouthfeel is top notch as well. Good viscosity without being cloying. Carbonation is right where it should be for a beer of this kind.

Drinkability is pretty damn solid for the abv especially. Goes down nicely, not too terribly hot, and not cloying.

Overall, a very impressive beer from FW. I would love to put some age on this one. Crazy how much the flavor changes throughout each sip. Really takes you on a ride. A thoroughly enjoyable and interesing beer. The only gripe I have is the outrageous price. The FW anniversary series is definitely making a name for itself among the top series beers to follow in the country. Good stuff.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled multiple small pours into a snifter as part of a vertical at the Firestone Anniversary party at Blue Palms. Matt, the brewmaster was standing over my shoulder for much of the time, answering my questions about barrel types, blending, etc.

Cordovan and burgandy body, with copper and carnelian highlights. Dark liquid, but good clarity. Small head that disappears rapidly, though there is a smattering of lacing. There seems to be an inverse relation between collar size and leg formation - the older the anniversary ale, the thinner the collar and more dense the legs.

12 is still pretty fresh, with juicier aromatics than 10 or 11 at this point. A little sweeter than previous blends, the nose is still packed full of bourbon elements: vanillin, toasted coconut, leather, and fine pipe tobacco. A touch of citrus, and some complexity from hops - though the herbal aromas are consumed by the overall vinuous and barrel scents.

As with all of the blends, bigger than the sum of the parts. Using Parabola as the base, 12 strikes me as sweeter, smoother, more quenching, and more robust than previous blends. Barrel notes are evident, but may bloom with more age. Dates, plums, figs, licorice, leather, and hops on the palate. Everything slowly evolves and grain dances in and out of the mix (oats, along with elements of a spicy wheat wine - Opal peeking out). The finish yields lots of tobacco, suggesting Pappy Van Winkle barrels were involved. Lovely.

Rich velvety texture, and very slightly tannic - excellent medium-bodied feel overall.

One of the best tasting of the anniversary ales, but the flavor profile keeps shifting beneath your feet - a frustrating delight.

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Photo of AES
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Spencer's Fresh Markets, Atascadero 12-31-08

A: Pours nearly black with very dark reds when held up to a neutral color. A centered pour produced one-finger head after a few moments, which soon dissipated. Lacing is fair, sticky.

S: The smell is striking in its similarity to Walnut lumber, rather sweet. Esters come through late and stick.

T: Very complex, the initial impression was very sweet chocolate with some caramel and bitterness from the hops. Esters quickly came through; this tastes like a chocolate-covered banana. The finish is bourbon with malt bitterness and alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is heavy and smooth. Silky comes to mind. The carbonation is initially noticeable but dissipates quickly. Leaves residual sugars on the tongue and lips.

D: After the first few sips, this brew is very impressive but not especially drinkable. It becomes more palatable as the sips go by and by now I'm wishing I had bought the other. The only real limiting factor is 12% alcohol.

Overall, this is an excellent brew and I can't wait to see what FW puts out next year. These anniversary ales are always interesting.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had at hoppymcgee's tasting 1/16. A 3oz. pour into an 8oz. pint glass. Sampled alongside FW13. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a .5 finger light cream colored coarse head with moderate retention. Beer is opaque black. Not quite like an RIS black (still a tiny bit of light penetration) but still... Lacing is stringy.

S: Boozy, chocolate, dark fruit, very hot and heavy. Also cocoa, possibly prunes, rainsins.

T: A strong roasted character is apparent here. Prunes, raisins, molasses, honey. Very hot going down, this one is a true sipper. Hops are present in the background at the beginning and end but their presence is very subtle, the imperial stout flavors dominate here.

M: Full bodied, very hot. Smooth and oily on the mouth, finish is surprisingly clean on this one. Leaves the palate sweet and sticky.

D: A very complex beer and artfully blended. What takes the rating down a bit for this one is how hot and boozy it still is after aging. A real sipper and quite enjoyable but I can't see myself having this over and over again. Perhaps the perfect beer for a 3oz. pour.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, received kindly in a previous bif

appearance: snifter treatment - very dark body, mahogany hues, very light tan rim, relatively still

smell: bourbon, vanilla, dark chocolate, toffee, caramel. nicely layored but not overly complex

taste: complex and layered, smooth bourbon, dark chocolate, coffee roast, caramel, licorice, vanilla, oak, toffee and raisin, roasted nuts. sweet beer from firestone walker - very lucky to try this one

mouthfeel: medium body, lingering bourbon, creamy and velvety. really nice

drinkability: good, especially given the strength

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Photo of mikeale
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to a few BAs for this.

A. Poured in to my Portsmouth snifter. Poured like cola, minimal head, no lacing.

S. Heaven!! Toffey, vanilla, oak.

T. Oh yeah! Tobacco, bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla, coffee.

M. Thick mouth coating, sticky sweet, warming alochol.

D. This is a wonderful beer, worth all the hype. I could drink this all the time.

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Photo of leschkie
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +14.4%

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Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.37 out of 5 with 303 ratings