Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
186 Reviews
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.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 186 | Ratings: 301
Photo of Deuane
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A take of two beers. The first time I had brew it was fairly fresh in May 2009. At this point in time I found FW XII to be undrinkable. It was way too hot and boozy for me to enjoy and I refused to review it. After a nearly six month wait I had the opportunity to have FW XII again in late October 2009. Wow, what a difference 6 months of aging can do! The following review is from the 10/09 bottle.

A-Deep black with some deep mahogany highlights with a creamy, medium tan head that reduced slowly and left nice lace.

S-Deep, rich, bourbon, sweet vanilla, oak, roasted caramel malt, touch of espresso and a dank earthiness in the background.

T-Rich roasted caramel malt up front with accenting notes of plum/cherry/raisin, chocolate, bourbon, astringent oak, vanilla, light alcohol burn and the ending earthiness as in the aroma. Quite complex but nowhere near as FW X.

M-Medium-heavy bodied rich, smooth and somewhat syrupy. Soft and silky and so luscious. Absolutely exquisite on the palate.

D-Quite good but in the end a bit too intense to enjoy thoroughly. The time in a bottle surely helped this beer so, maybe future bottles will be even better? One can only hope.

 1,176 characters

Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured out like a thin stout. A thin head rose and fell back into the dark liquid.

Smells similar to XIII but with some more prevalent rye characteristics. An oak smell is dominant and then some very faded hops and maybe a bready/yeasty smell.

Tasting it was very pleasant. Sweetness quickly mellowing into oak and then a faint rye flavor in the background. It's a very subtle beer even for 12% abv. Flavors aren't really as explosive as you'd think. Mouthfeel comes up a little thin.

I actually enjoyed XIII a bit more but there were a lot of similarities obviously. This beer is perfect to drink right now. I can't see it getting any better.

 651 characters

Photo of DrewOSU
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Provided by Newtonty during a FW X-XIII vertical @ beachbum1975's place. I had an awesome time and thanks to Newtonty for providing ¾ beers for this EPIC vertical!

A: Pours a caramel brown, minimal grayish head. Lacing is watery, but leaves small carbonated bubbles encased in oil around the rim of the glass.

S: I get strong hints of vanilla with hints of fruit and a big bourbon base underneath it.

M/T: Medium body with a strong vanilla presence. Having tasted this in a vertical, I have to say that this is the most balanced of the four beers. The bourbon, malt, vanilla all blend together superbly without one over powering the other. Finishes clean, despite the heavy malt/barley wine aspects.

D: FW anniversary beers are great sippers. The FW XII has a very good balance of flavors between the blends. Nothing is over powering. Since it also finishes clean, the drink ability is very high.

 903 characters

Photo of stoutfiend27
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

aquired in trade with MASPuros..thanks again..poured into snifter at 50 degrees....split with my fiancee ..

a-the pour was a very dark brown almost black while entering the glass...black when in the glass with some nice garnet highlights....one and half finger head...lingered for a while leaving behind some nice lacing..

s-so intriguing ...lots of vanilla and wood....some nice deep roasted malt and almost some port or sherry notes....a little bit of booze on the nose...the barrel notes are all over this in the nose...some coffee and toffee..a little bit of tobacco...

t-starts of with lots of nice vanilla and wood notes...the roasted grains and coffee step up...there are some bourbon highlights...the toffee really steps up in the middle....a little bit of alcohol creeps in to warm the tonuge..the faintest of sweet port ...some fudge and tobacco on the finish...there is a little bit of hop bitterness still lingering there...

m-this is the creamiest most full bodied beer ive ever tried....it coats everything it touches...the alcohol leaves a bit of a sting and warming sensation as it goes down....great for a chilly night like we are having..the mouthfeel could not be improved at all

d-i only docked this from a five because of the abv...if it was not so hard to get i would try to stock pile this stuff...

overall a truly impressive beer...maybe not the best ive ever had but it stands up there with them...a pleasure to try

 1,446 characters

Photo of Gyle41386
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared among friends at a tasting.

Dark brown, borderline black pour. Ring of foam. Good lacing on the glass.

Lots of barrel in the nose. Oak/vanilla/chocolate/caramel/whiskey/brown sugar. Lots of sweetness.

Good barrel quality to the flavor, as well. Great blend of beers. The vanilla/whiskey/woody flavors are outstanding.

Medium-full body. The low carbonation level makes it nice and thick, just bordering on being syrupy. Not a hint of 12% ABV. Ridiculously easy to drink.

 488 characters

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes taken at hoppmcgee's tasting.

A - Dark black, pours a tiny light mocha head that recedes pretty quickly. Leaves no lace or collar.

S - Chocolate malts, bourbon, with some dark fruits and molasses.

T - Really strong dark fudge profile, with bourbon, dates, and nuts. A bit hot even after this time, but thats a profile I like.

M - Thin for the style but I think it helps lighten the fudge profile, slightly high carbonation.

D - Good. Would like a little heavier mouthfeel but I would nonetheless seek this out again.

 544 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: With a hard pour, the coffee colored liquid generates a small, beige head that fritters to a ringlet rather quickly and leaves more legs than lace

Smell: Caramel and graham cracker, with coconut, fig and a bit of vanilla bourbon underneath

Taste: Graham cracker malt, up front, with a burgeoning fig flavor that is joined, mid-palate, by the vanilla, bourbon and coconut flavors; rather boozy, both before and after the swallow, when the flavors coalesce into a long-lasting and balanced finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderately low carbonation; plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: A year or so of aging has helped settle this one down, though I can tell it has quite a few years ahead of it for those who are patient

 747 characters

Photo of TK5150
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours dark brown with a small beige head.

S- Coconut bourbon barrel character slaps you in the face with raisins, molasses, caramel, figs, and chocolate getting in on the action as well. Smells great.

T- Bourbon barrel caramel flavors with Parabola playing a large role as well. As this has aged, the stout qualities have become more prominent. The play between the barrel characteristics and stout are very nice. Vanilla and figs show up. Ends with a blast of bourbon-y alcoholic heat.

M- Due to the low carbonation (which I like in big beers like this), the mouthfeel is nice and silky. There is also a creaminess that really adds to the effect. Without the low carbonation, I might have a little complaint on the viscosity, as this feels just a tad on the thin side at first. As I get more buzzed it becomes less of an issue.

D- Of course nothing you would want to pound, especially at the price. 12% is nothing to scoff at either. But because it is so delicious, I have no problem putting down most of a bomber by myself (even though I'm very buzzed). The beer itself is drinking very well right now, but with another year, or even 2, I feel this would be even better. Sucks this was my last bottle, but was still a great experience. If you have any of this still hanging around, I would say hold onto it for a while longer.

 1,335 characters

Photo of csmiley
4.36/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many many thanks to prototypic for the chance to try this one out.

A - Pours a pretty dark brown with some cola highlights that show around the edges. No head to speak of. Well, there is a very fine ring around the edge of the glass. At 12% I wouldn't expect too much in this department but it would be nice to see at least a little something.

S - Starts out with dark fruit notes. Dark fruits soaked in alcohol and dipped in chocolate. Lots of raisin comes through. Toffee, butterscotch, and bread dough seem to dominate midway. Alcohol is consistent but stays pretty much out of the way. That is no small feat given the 12% tag. The toffee really sticks around for a while. Cocoa finishes it up.

T - There is the alcohol that was missing in the nose. This one is quite the complex beast. Toffee and caramel have a strong presence on the front end. The cocoa comes through stronger in the flavor than the aroma. The fruitiness seems to be tamed a little. Getting mostly raisin. Notes of cherry and fig as well. Alcohol is persistent throughout the brew. It borders getting too warm but doesn't quite get to that point though. On the very end there is a coffee or roasty flavor that is hard to pinpoint but it is there.

M - Fuller bodied with very light carbonation. It works for a brew this big though. Finish starts out creamy and ends with a touch of heat.

D - Drinkability it really good. This is a big beer that is probably best shared among friends. I'd be hard pressed to put away 22 ounces by myself. The "12" has allot of things going for it. Complexity is probably it's strongest suit but the balance of flavors comes in close behind. Appearance is a different story. No head = mediocre score in the category. Other than that, this is a fine beer that is highly recommended it you get the chance to try it out.

 1,827 characters

Photo of prototypic
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to EinWeizenbitte for the bottle.

Firestone XII pours a very dark, ruddy brown color. It's nearly opaque and black looking. But, faint burgundy highlights emerge at the outermost edges. Unfortunately, no head developed. The few bubbles that collect on the surface appear to be tan, but it's tough to tell. No lacing developed. Not bad, but pretty disappointing, even in light of the 12% abv.

The nose is very sweet and malty. Lots of chocolate and caramel in this bad boy. The chocolate variety seems to lie somewhere between sweet milk chocolate and bittersweet dark chocolate. A little brown sugar and molasses are noted. They add quality depth. Coffee is here, but it isn't very strong in the mix. There's certainly a distinct bourbon aroma. It doesn't completely overwhelm the other characteristics, but it's definitely there. I like the restrained approach. It works well and lets it breathe.

The flavor profile is very good. Very well-rounded and flavorful. The caramel/chocolate malt base is sweet and sturdy. The taste even throughout. The chocolate flavor adds a nice bittersweet flavor. Brown sugar, vanilla, and, to a lesser extent, molasses complement the malt flavors very well. Coffee is subtle, but does add something positive to the overall flavor. That's especially true for a coffee fan...like me. The bourbon flavor is very well done. It's not too strong, but not too light either. It's just right. For a barrel-aged stout, it tastes very well balanced. The bourbon flavor complements the stout flavors extremely well. Alcohol comes through loud and clear. Somehow, it never feels hot. That's surprising. This is damn good stuff. If it weren't quite as sweet as it is, it would earn the next highest score.

Firestone XII has a medium body that grows thicker with warming. It's nice and smooth, but never feels creamy. Carbonation is light and restrained. Just a little more body would help. Drinkability is good. This stuff goes down smooth and easy. It is quite big at 12%. But, damn it's easy drinking. I'm sharing the bottle, but could easily take one for myself.

Firestone XII is damn good beer. Personally, I don't think it's quite as good as Firestone XI, but it's not far behind. The score here won't reflect quite how good it is. The 'look' score hurts it. But, it needs some work there. As far as flavor goes, it delivers. I don't know how many of these bottles are still floating around, but you should start looking for one while you have the chance.

 2,500 characters

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought this to a tasting on the 16th. From notes. Thanks to Jim for sending me one of these way back when!

Pours a dark cola brown with some caramel highlights. Not a real sturdy head formation, some wispy tannish foam.

Smells of rich dark chocolates and some booze-soaked raisins and prunes. Dark cherries as well. Roasty and some coffee too. Plenty of barrel aromas of butterscotch and vanilla, but overall this is considerably boozier even a year out than the 13 is right now.

The taste follows with a lot of the same flavors, maybe a bit more wood but definitely has a more assertive roasty/coffee bitterness than the 13. This, along with the booze and barrel notes makes for a little bit more of an aggressive beer and leads to a sweet vanilla and boozy finish. I really think that this has potential to improve a lot though compared to the 13, which I don't think could get much better. Low carbonation creates a sliky, creamy mouthfeel which is fitting for this brew.

12 is definitely warming and makes you cognizant of its strength, but is clearly impressively drinkable for a beer of this intensity and robustness. Another outstanding blend from the Firestone guys and I look forward to seeing how this continues to develop with time.

 1,252 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 1,087 characters

Photo of MASPuros
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark Burgandy with little tan head. slight glow when held to light

S: Bourbon, Oak and Vanilla
Picking up some biter chocolate and caramel. Seems well balanced and aging it has mellowed it a bit.

T: Wow, layers upon layers of bourbon, caramel, vanilla, oak, toffee and dark fruit. A bit Syrupy

M: Smooth and velvety. Stick to the roof of your mouth. Very pleasant aftertaste

D: Time has done wonders. This is a nice sipper but you can get in trouble with this one if you don't take it slow

Have 1 more bottle left =(

 524 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
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

 574 characters

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown with a thin tan head. Big aroma of bourbon, vanilla and chocolate. Rich and full bodied. Flavor is similar to the aroma, lots of vanilla and bourbon. There is some hop bitterness in the middle. A little boozy on the finish. Flavor is very complex with the finish of chocolate malt and vanilla lingering for a long time.

A really good beer, but it didn't blow me away like previous versions, maybe I'm getting jaded!

 469 characters

Photo of Damian
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounces/650 ml bottle
Served in a sniffer
Acquired in a trade with Zorro

Review #475

Chestnut brown in appearance with a small, frothy, saddle brown head that quickly faded to a bubbly ring. The liquid poured a touch thinner than anticipated.

The aroma was simply amazing. Sweet and complex with strong notes of green raisins, dark fruits, figs and molasses. Loads of sweet Madegascar vanilla beans and brown sugar notes were also apparent. Slightly woody and "old."

Compared to the aroma, the taste was a bit of a letdown initially. As the beer warmed however, the flavor profile really came alive. Brown sugar and molasses notes came through strong. Raisins, prunes and dried figs were also quite apparent. The barrel aging lent strong vanilla notes and a bit of an oaky, woody quality. Dark chocolate appeared in the center. A touch roasty on the back end with a slightly boozy kick. Subtle notes of citrusy hops appeared on the finish.

The mouthfeel was fuller-bodied. Ultra creamy, rich and silky smooth. A fine, moderate carbonation blanketed my tongue. Based on the appearance of the liquid, I was surprised with the actual viscosity.

At 12% ABV, a sweet booziness was present yet it never overwhelmed. This beer drank like a charm.

Similar to 11, 12 is another terrific anniversary release from the folks at Firestone Walker. I am anxious to try 13.

 1,393 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from a 22oz bottle into a Rochefort glass.

The beer is very dark brown you can just tell its brown not black but irregardless its very drak. The head is a very light tan rising about a finger but is gone quickly, under 30 seconds. The lacing is very light and watery. There some spotty drops around the glass.

The front of the aroma is really sweet with some vanilla, toffee and raisins and finished with oak and bourbon. Its complex but light, wish it was a tad bit stronger.

The taste of the beer is tons of vanilla which is awesome on the front. It fades to some oak and bourbon and finishes with some bitter alcohol.

The feel is a little light, somewhat disappointing.

Its decently drinkable but something about it just makes it a sipper not a chugger.

Overall its pretty good but has some draw backs in lack of overall aroma and too much vanilla mixed with a bitter end that makes this beer only good not great.

 937 characters

Photo of br3wmeister
4.66/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Small silky head with moderate lacing and weak retention. The beer itself is a very dark brown color.

S- Buttery chocolate, lots of caramels, roasted nuts, fresh backed bread, oak and vanilla. This beer has a lot going on in the aroma. A touch of peppery alcohol, some ripe fruit as well as toffee bourbon and coffee aroma.

T- There are a tun of flavors in this beer and they all blend together almost perfectly. This is a magnificent tasting beer. Very sweet smooth buttery chocolate, toffee, vanilla, roasted nuts, caramel, oak, some mild earthy spice, mild hop bitterness, and bourbon.

M- Very silky and smooth full bodied beer. Mouth coating oiliness nice bitter finish.

Overall this is one of the best beers I have had. I am really looking forward to what Firestone Walker has to offer for the 13.

 813 characters

Photo of davod23
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

One of my very last bottles of this brew. I haven't opened one for close to a year. Let's see how it's doing. Poured from the bottle into a tulip.

Nice, rich brown color with beautiful ruby highlights. A thin tan head forms and valiantly tries to hold on, but retreats to thin wisps on the top of the beer. Very nice.

The smell - the last year has been pretty good to this beer. Not nearly as much heat as I remember. I'm pulling out dark chocolate, vanilla, toffee, caramel, oak, bourbon, alcohol, prune/raisin, a hint of butterscotch, and a note of nuttiness. I'm thinking almonds and hazelnuts. Seriously a ridiculous nose. Most excellent.

Taste is supermagnificent. The taste was designed for me. Strong notes of bourbon mix with an undertone of dark chocolate, vanilla highlights, some dark fruit, oak, and a surprisingly robust nuttiness. This was a small, subtle component of the nose, but the hazelnuts and almonds are quite prominent here. Phew, this is great, and much better than I remember it (though it was very good fresh as well).

Mouthfeel is superb. Full bodied, thick, slick, oily mouthfeel. It stops short of being massive, which is okay by me.

Drinkability is a tough one here. Honestly, I can't give great marks here. I think it's palate fatigue. The beer is so complex and interesting that it's wearing on me as the bottle goes down. A minor squabble... hell, not even a problem at all, really... just a further testament to the brilliance of the men at Firestone for this series of beers.

So find a friend or two and split this bottle. It will not disappoint.

 1,589 characters

Photo of bret27
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle courtesy of bulletrain76

S: choc, alcohol, raisins, vanilla as beverage warms up

A: Dark brown, minimal brown head, some sediment at bottom

T: Roasty, vanilla, choc, oak, subdued boozy warmth

M: viscous and smooth

D: For abv I think very good. The alcohol comes more as warmth than burn.

Overall: I love this beer.

 327 characters

Photo of mjl21
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Comes in at 12%. No paper describing the blend is included in the box.

A-Pours a dark brown that has some definite reddish hue when held to the light. It has a foamy sandy head that clings to half of the glass. A few swirls results in a scattered layer that sticks around. Leaves some nice spotted lace that is better than the XIII.

S-I get lots of coconut throught the session. The usual -bal aged aromas of vanilla, bourbon, and oak are definitely evident and stronger than in the XIII. Tobacco notes are abound and as it warms there is some booze and a little yeast.

T-Lots of bourbon, oak, and vanilla kick it off. The vanilla is definitely strong. After a year of aging, the booze is still apparent. I personally liked the booze, but I can see how some would view it as distracting. This one still could use some time to mellow out. Caramel and toffee also are quite evident and give it a sweet touch. I get hints of cherry and dark stone fruit. The -bal aged flavors are definitely big in this one.

M-It is thick and oily. I found it to be a tad flat. The booze does result in the tongue drying out.

D-Lots of stong -bal aged flavor in this one. I really liked it. Still has some mellowing left.

It was nice to revisit this one. I found it to still be quite strong a year later. Definitely bigger in aroma and flavor than XIII.

 1,378 characters

Photo of MrFootstones
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Trying this one last time on 1/16/2011. Stand by my scores from before. I will say a nice toasted hazelnut and marshmallowy flavor has developed. Still has some significant alcohol burn. Tasty stuff, not sure if it'll improve from here.

A- Dark brown to black with mahogany edges. Small light brown head forms with a vigorous pour into my wine glass. Head quickly dissipates but leaves a nice thin foam cap the whole time.

S- Boozy, especially after warming, sweet, oak, bourbon, vanilla. Very nice. Smell makes me very excited to drink this beer.

T- Toffee, vanilla, bourbon, alcohol, oak (spicy/vanilla, slight tannins). Beautiful taste, a little more integrated after a year and definitely less boozy.

M- Creamy and smooth with light tight carbonation, though a bit on the thin side. Very complimentary for the most part.

D- Much improved from last year. It was a pleasure drinking this beer.

Overall- I loved this beer, and so did my mom, who I split it with (she picked it up for me last year as it wasn't available in my area, so I was happy to share :) Wish I had a few more bottles of this, as I am almost certain it has not peaked and could spend lots more time in the cellar.

 1,192 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Delirium snifter to welcome my birthday, I bought this about a year ago today, and the new ones just hit town. I figured I should try it before I invest more money in the lineup. Very dark ruby with a small, tight light tan head that leaves light foamy lace.

Smell is caramel and bourbon, hints of vanilla and coconut. Leafy noble hops come out as it warms, as does the intensity of the rich malts.

Taste is nice and boubony, dark chocolate and caramel malts but not roasty, basically a bourbon barrel porter. And a very good one at that. But not $25 dollars good, the competition is just to high. I just recently enjoyed an almost 2 year old Full Sail Top Sail that was just as good, and went for $6-8. As I work through it, a bitter astringency starts to build up and distract from the richness of the malts, mostly bitter hops I assume, but regardless, I don't care for it, enough to drop the score 1/2 a point. There's also a strong coffee ground aspect throughout, underscoring the bitterness.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, creamy, medium heavy, almost nitro like.

Drinkability is okay, it's a tasty bourbon barrel beer whose very high alcohol is well hidden and clean. But I can't really get past the outrageous price enough to fall in love, sorry.

 1,275 characters

Photo of augustgarage
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 1,683 characters

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Free samples of Twelve, Thirteen, and a number of other Firestone rarities were being offered up at the Firestone Thirteen Release Party at the brewery in Paso Robles. That's where I got to try this. Following review based on notes from that event.

Served in a small snifter.

Appearance: Very dark, but not opaque; deep brown with shades of red throughout. A very thin, off-white film sits on top, and tries its best to stay afloat by clinging to the edges of the glass. Looks very oily and slick, especially when swirled.

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, oak, and bourbon. Very rich and bold. If I could, I'd score the smell and taste the same - 4.25 - but this site simply won't allow that.

Taste: Charred oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and big bourbon. Very rich and oily, though the overall flavor has declined with age. It's simply become a bit dull. This beer hasn't aged nearly as well as Eleven. As noted above, I feel that the smell and taste are on par with one another: both in between 4.0 and 4.5 rankings.

Mouthfeel: Oily and kinda syrupy with ever-so-light carbonation. Finishes dry and warm, though not harsh at all. A definite sipper, but a very smooth one.

Drinkability: While this beer isn't quite as good as it once was, I still consider it to be an absolute treat. Really happy I got to try it again (especially since it was free!).

 1,363 characters

Firestone 12 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.39 out of 5 based on 301 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!