Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet Merlin Oatmeal StoutVelvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
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English Oatmeal Stout
Ranked #46
Ranked #5,597
4.02 | pDev: 9.7%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Velvet Merlin Oatmeal StoutVelvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
Notes: A decadent oatmeal stout. Velvet Merlin offers robust cocoa and espresso aromas with subtle American hop nuances. Rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor with a creamy mouth feel and wonderfully dry finish create the perfect balance in this full-bodied stout. Ideal for sipping in the winter months or at the end of a meal.

Original name was "Velvet Merkin", but name was changed when it began to be bottled in 2010.
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Reviews: 707 | Ratings: 3,127 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Act25
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Now in cans. As fine a 5.5% velvety, flavorful Stout as can be found. Must blind test against Lefthand and the rest.
a) Massive lace over black body.
s/t) Enough roast to temper the sweet of chocolate, mocha, vanilla, prune. Some grass and hops also balance.
f) Velvet to core as good as any.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled 10/6/15; drank 10/28/15 @ the Yarchives.

Brown/black/purple appearance.

A rough pour yielded a HUGE tan head (careful pouring!); strong lace.

Oatmeal, cream & peanut butter notes in the nose; inviting!

Creamy medium thick mouthfeel. Oats, cream & faint milk chocolate flavors up front; peanut butter notes on the finish.

An easy to drink, flavorful fall treat. I'd have another.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.59/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours dark body with reddish hues and a thick ear with good retention and lacing
S: subtle smelling beer, but not much to it
T: somewhat roasted toffee notes, but very light. Some roasted notes with a subtle, creamy, oaty aftertaste
M: medium bodied and pretty creamy; not too bad
O: ok mouthfeel and taste combo; ok overall, but nothing impressive.

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Photo of mintzmeet
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice nitro stout! Very creamy. Not a whole lot of flavor, but excellent texture. Smooth taste of lightly toasted grains. Incredible head, beautiful lacing.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2018 version. Pours black with ruby edges at 57 degrees; light tan cap; good retention; heavy ring, moderate lace; thin legs. Roast malt, bourbon, whiff of vanilla. Lite roast, chocolate, coffee. Medium body, moderate carbonation, no warmth. Drinks like a porter as it feels thin for an oatmeal stout; nicely balanced flavors, just wish it had more...

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Photo of rex_4539
4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Very dark brown color, no head, not much of lacing either, light carbonation.

S: Oats, sweet, chocolate. Very subtle.

T: Oats, sweet, extremely smooth. Excellent!

F: Light bodied, extremely drinkable and smooth.

O: Top quality beer.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours from nitro can a firm black with ruby highlights. Big creamy khaki head.

Aroma: Coffee and bittersweet cocoa. Nice.

Taste: Smooth with a bitter coffee and roasty cocoa flavor all over. Solid and no problem getting this down.

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Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cola black color, medium light carbonation, slight creamy feel. Aroma is chocolate, cocoa, bourbon candy, coffee and brown sugar. The taste is sweet but not overdone and it makes it taste like a bourbon beer candy. It's incredibly smooth and flavorful and the different flavors blend togethor really well

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Photo of brendanwlake
4.92/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Delicious beer with incredible smelling notes in the glass. Drank in a thin wine glass. Tastes and smells boozy but low ABV. Taste lingers in mouth. Fabulous.

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Photo of GrumpyGas
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

16oz draft pour into a pint glass boasts a deep dark brown body and maintains a constant 1/8in cream colored head, leaving no lacing.

Very subtle roast coffee aroma, if any. I absolutely do not get the 'robust' from the notes until the aftertaste.

Flavors include cocoa powder, slight coffee at first and a lingering stronger roast coffee bean aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is perfect for an oatmeal stout. Creamy but not thick.

Overall a great example of the style and par for the course as FW goes.

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Photo of puck1225
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 edition. Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Very dark black brown. Light head but great lacing. Wonderful nutty chocolate smell and taste. Very smooth and easy to drink for a stout. Great beer.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a pint glass. The appearance was a nice dark brown close to black color with a thin semi-annual head that dissipated within about a good thirty seconds. Light lacing traced around the glass. The smell had a dark chocolate overcoating a deep dark grain (oatmeal I’m suspecting). The taste was mainly roasty sweet chocolate with a delicate yet sharp bitter coffee to balance. Light chocolate aftertaste amplifies a dry silky finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a decent sessionability about it. The carbonation seemed to be appropriate for the style and it was good to me. Overall, this was a wonderful oatmeal stout by Firestone Walker.

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Photo of ImperialAsianGlow
4.93/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me tell you a tale. Yes a tale of the Velvet Merlin. Four years ago when I was a wee lad (yes slightly underage). I stumbled across a frightened and alone sixer in our village Albertsons of Irvine. I kindfully took this young sixer under my wing and soon after my elder acquaintances bartered with the cashier. Once full ownership was established we scurried back to the nest and po'd up into ice cold frozen pints. Popping the top was like removing the sword from the stone and everything that followed was nothing but royalty.

The medium pour left me with a perfectly decapitated tan head of roughly an inch.

Ahhhh the aromatherapy of chocolate, coffee, and overall crispness really woke the senses.

And the taste! Yes the taste! It was like our home became a tent next to the fire and my balls finally dropped.

But the feel! Yes the feel was smooth yet exquisitely balanced with carbonation!

But alas, the young sixer was no more after withstanding a whole day. And the local Albertsons had no more to replenish my newfound obsession.
Four winters past and I have told the tale of the legendary sixer a thousand some odd times, but never remembered the true name nor brewery. The beer was nothing but a myth.

UNTIL! I stumbled into a Bevmo half dead and ready to give up the grueling internal battle of even believing such a beer ever existed... I had found her.

Once again a lone, frightened little sixer just as I remembered. As soon as I purchased her, the tag was removed from the fridge and no more remained in its place. I had a frozen glass ready for me at home and I indulged. I was scared I would be dissatisfied and disappointed... but It was everything I ever thought it was. The perfect beer. And so I made this account and wrote this here tale. The tale of the Velvet Merlin.

In all seriousness this is a great beer. Buy it if you see it. But if I see you buying it, I will challenge you to a duel for it.

8 out 5 overall

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Photo of 88caprice
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

Super dark brown. Thin, creamy head.
Very little aroma, but hints of malt, char, and metal.
Tastes dark, roasty, and a little charred. Some bitterness at the end. A little woody. Not super robust or complex, but still quite good.
The smoothness is the star. Great level of smoothness from the oats. Not too heavy.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Another bottle bites the dust in today's attempt to eradicate single-O Porters, Stouts & Old Ales from the insidious Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody.

I find revisionist history to be laughable & here is a stark example: "Original name was 'Velvet Merkin', but name was changed when it began to be bottled in 2010." Ha ha, horses**t! They thought that they were being clever/funny until the ATF did their homework & realized that it referred to a (ahem!) carpet used by (ahem, again!) prostitutes during the Middle Ages. You may have heard the sobriquet "Beaver" applied to Venus' Triangle? Some high-end merkins were fashioned from beaver pelts. Why was this important? We, as humans, had no understanding of vermin vs. vectors during the Plague Era, but a connection was made between fur & body hair (sort of correctly, think crabs) & so clean-shaven was the order of the day. For the hirsute-aficionados, the merkin was created to satiate their desires. Once the ATF realized what they had approved, they spanked Firestone Walker's collective pee-pee & made them make an amendment.

Onwards! I Pop!ped the cap to great applause, forcing me to stop & take a bow before continuing. How bow dah? Cash me owside. It was a nice, fresh bottle, so there was nothing standing between me an a heavy-handed pour except fear itself. I decided to shoot the works & go for the gusto, pouring nearly the entire contents into my glass before a pseudo-cascade took ahold & I had to back off lest I clean up a mess later. It settled into two-pus fingers of dense, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head with great retention. Color was Very Dark Brown to Black/Opaque (SRM = > 34, < 44) with garnet highlights & NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled of milk chocolate and a fresh-baked breadiness. Mouthfeel was full, smooth & creamy, almost like an N2 pour. The taste was like a combination of milk chocolate, coffee and light cream. Man, this was a smoooooth, easy-drinking stout! So much so that I drained off half of it without even an afterthought. Finish was semi-sweet, bordering on semi-dry, but the chocolaty presence held things in check. It was a very pleasant addition to the day.

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

L: Pitch black, with a foamy beige head. Retention is minimal. A thin ring remains that leaves some spotty lacing.

S: Grainy, musty oats; milk chocolate candy, burnt toast, cocoa powder, milk, hints of cherries, earth.

F: Cherry and raisins right up front, which quickly glides into milk chocolate, cocoa powder, and almond milk. Then you get dry, musty grains; burnt toast, and metallic earthiness. Finishes lightly dry with lingering essences of chocolate, cherries, and grainy oats.

F: Medium-bodied. Smooth and well-rounded, with medium carbonation.

O: An extremely flavorful stout for under 6%. An excellent display of oats, roasted notes, and fruity esters. A great beer.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Our first beer on our trip to California! This is a nice overall oatmeal stout. Nothing complex, just nice and drinkable. Enjoyed at the source... Firestone walker Brewery, Paso Robles, CA.

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Photo of Blackop555
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown/black. Thick, short, tan head that lasts a little while.

Smells of roasted malts, light coffee, light chocolate and hints of char.

Tastes roasted malts, light sweet, hints of chocolate and hints of coffee. Finish is semi dry with a light coffee and hint of char linger. Medium body and smooth, creamy medium carbonation.

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Photo of CTHomer
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: opaque; very dark brown in color ;1 finger creamy beige head that receded slowly to a thin cap; little lacing;

S: not very aromatic; what's there is deeply roasted grain and a hint of coffee;

T: deeply roasted grain from start to finish; mild bitterness at the end;

M: seems a little thin; moderate, creamy carbonation; lightly dry finish;

P: not very interesting;

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Photo of CraftBeerRunner
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gorgeous looking dark color with thick brown cream head. Served on nitro. Very smooth. Nice beer although a little lacking in oomph. Bridgetender, Tahoe City, CA, 2017

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Photo of andrewh995
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on date was late October so it may deserve I higher ratings if I had a newer bottle. It was a pretty good oatmeal stout with sweet chocolate and coffee flavors, as well as a beautiful color, but I don't think it deserves almost 90.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Very dark black (yeah black really is as dark as it gets). Only a 1-finger head. I expected a bit more. Head recedes, but it stays a tad bit foamy with a nice tan ring around the glass.

Sweet rich and caramelly. Strong coffee, chocolate, charred oak, and tobacco. A slight plum/prune dark fruitiness.

Some hop bitterness, but more bitterness from the charred grains that are in this one. All scents from the aroma are in there as flavor (coffee, chocolate, charred wood, tobacco). Slight fruitiness - rich dark fruit. Starts a bit sweet, gets really dry, then when all of that fades, you are left with a smoky campfire and coffee-mocha aftertaste.

Medium - but on the fuller side - bodied. Seems pretty thin for the style.

Really good beer. Very desserty beer. Quite complex really. Many flavors and woody flavored. I am not sure if this one was barrel aged - I don't see any mention of it, but it tastes like it has absorbed flavor from charred oak somewhere. It could be just the heavily roasted dark grains. Very good. Firestone Walker doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of Impetuous
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Perfectly opaque.

Flavor is difficult to describe. Roasted malts with light cocoa flavor which is punctuated by tumultuous hop bitterness. Quite carbonated.

Pretty good.

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Photo of Segelstrom
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This beer was not very full bodied for a stout. Tasted kind of watered down. Surprised it was 5.5 ABV - my guess would have been much lower. Still better than a Bud.

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Photo of Skrumpy
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was fortunate enough to get a pint of this on nitro- so smooth! Very dark, with a thin, tan head. Streak lacing. The aroma is lightly toasted malt, espresso, and dark chocolate. The flavor is similar, with hints of cocoa and coffee. Another fine beer from Firestone Walker.

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Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 3127 ratings