Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Velvet Merlin Oatmeal StoutVelvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout

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

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by largadeer on 11-13-2008

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Reviews: 692 | Ratings: 3,064
Photo of 88caprice
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
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 -2.5%
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 +4.3%
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 -0.3%
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 HamdenHector
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
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 +6.3%
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 -4.5%
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 +3.8%
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 jrsqc7
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
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 -20.6%
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 +1.5%
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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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours a black color with a two finger, beige head. Leaves minimal lacing but maintains a head for a time.

Aroma: It's sweet with a sort of charred toast, roasted grain aroma, with notes tobacco, vanilla wafers, dark chocolate and mild coffee.

Taste: Mellow. The flavor is soft and restrained, with notes of sweet tobacco, burnt toast, mild chocolate and acidic coffee on the finish. It's oddly crushable although, like I said, the flavor is a little timid. Nothing here is offensive to the palate however.

Feel: The mouthfeel is adequate for the style. Mid-heavy weight with low carbonation. The oats give it some much needed body and weight, yet it's still crisp at 5.5% abv.

Overall: Not my favorite oatmeal stout, but certainly not a bad one. I just wish it had more flavor. I can see this going well with a meal to slate your thirst and clean your palate. If you're looking for something thirst quenching you might really enjoy this stout.

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Photo of matcris
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A half finger of tan head that slowly fades to a ring on top of a black stout with ruby around the edges up to the light. Great carbonation when I rock the glass. Spotty lacing left behind. Aroma, oatmeal, coffee, chocolate, slight alcohol??
Flavor is Chocolate, minor coffee, oatmeal on the finish, no alcohol in the taste. Feel is pretty creamy, full carbonation, dry on finish. Reminds me slightly of Tallgrass Buffalo stout, but a little thicker. Not bad.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10-5-16. DFH Tulip.

A: pours an opaque black with some carbonation barely visible at the edges. Two fingers of frothy light tan head. Exquisite lacing and good retention.

S: a salty and malty mix. Mild roast and not a whole lot of sweetness.

T: arrives with characteristic stout roastiness, turning into a malty and mild sweetness, like malted milk - not like a milkshake, but sweet in the way that some grains are sweet without having any sugar. Very little roast here, with only the slightest touch of bitterness at the end. Very dark malt driven; I have had porters and possibly brown ales more roasty and bitter than this - but that is not an insult.

M: solidly midweight, slightly slick but generally clean. Certainly on the lighter side for stouts.

O: I drank half of this before I notice that I had not yet finished the review. It is extremely drinkable. This is a stout for bringing to parties. A real crowd pleaser and good for sessioning, but perhaps not so good if you're only having one. This is very good beer, and is a perfect execution of the style, but is perhaps my least favorite offering I've had from F-W so far (which is still better than a lot of other beers).

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Photo of flgimp
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured very dark cloudy red brown with medium body Into frosted pilsner glass. Heavy active head lacing lasted through drinking. Medium carbonation. Nose is of roasted coffee and cocoa. First sip was smokey coffee and dark chocolate with just the right amount of bitterness follows with blend of roasted nutty bread, more cocoa and coffee notes. Very nice oatmeal stout that I will visit again when I find it.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Roasted malts, dark fruits, and coffee make up the majority of the nose. Some light caramel in there as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the roast and dark fruits and goes into the coffee and light caramel sweetness. Bitterness from the coffee notes balance nicely with the sweetness. Finishes with lingering dark fruits and roast

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth

O: A nice, easy-drinking oatmeal stout with good complexity for the sub-6% abv. Perfect for fall/winter

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Photo of alarmclock314
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, dated 10/5/16. Pours somewhat hazy reddish brown with a large sized khaki head; some lacing. Smells of roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, caramel, and oats. The taste follows closely with roasted malt, cocoa, oats, caramel, and earthy/woody hops. Medium bitterness and some noticeable but subtle tartness. Average carbonation and somewhat thin body for the style. Overall, this is a fairly good Oatmeal Stout with a nice smell, but it could use more intensity and body.

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Photo of thebeers
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dated 10/12/16. Dark ruddy brown with two fingers of tan head that leaves thick lacing and lasts a good long while.

Big chocolate aroma with roasty notes behind, including coffee, chicory, wood and stale hops.

The roasty qualities really stand out up front in the taste, with the chocolate, coffee and wood present, but more muted. The backend is sort of shallow, with a pretty dry aftertaste.

The feel is somewhat on the thin side, too, with a touch of creaminess but relatively little heft.

Maybe I'm too used to imperial stouts these days, but this feels more like porter territory to me. I was expecting more body in an oatmeal stout, and more flavor, too. Not bad, but with all the competition out there, not one I'd come back to often. If you're into dry Irish stouts, this may be more in your wheelhouse.

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Photo of Ryan4120
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - deep black with a moderate light tan head
S - malty, earthy, with milt oatmeal notes
T - earth, roasted malt, notes of oatmeal
F - full body with mild carbonation
O - A decent oatmeal stout - I've had both from the bottle and on draught and I absolutely prefer the draught version as the head retention, feel, and aroma are more appealing

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is a dark black with tan head and decent lacing. Smells of toasted oat, some coffee, and mild hoppy malt. Taste is very nice, full flavor of oat, coffee, malt, chocolate, and some burnt bread mixed in giving this a very well balanced feel. The finish is very clean and smooth, I really enjoyed this beer, would recommend to anyone and will drink again for sure, good job guys.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark brown color with a small mocha head.
Aroma of chocolate and bread.
Mostly chocolate taste. Some oatmeal. A hint of coffee.
Medium-bodied, very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours near-black with a thin tan cap. Aroma is distinctly oat-forward with chocolate notes. Flavor is delicious, with roast coffee and chocolate dominating. Very smooth and drinkable. Clean finish. Excellent.

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Photo of FBarber
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I find that this beer never has as nice and thick a head as I'd expect from an oatmeal stout. However the aroma, flavor and feel are all really nicely done. Its a very drinkable and enjoyable oatmeal stout. Lovely roasted malts and chocolate on the nose and flavor. Overall its a really nice beer.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Echo Tap and Grille. Pours an opaque, jet black hue with moderate frothing. Aroma reminiscent of mocha and dark espresso. Flavor dominated by strong toffee and cocoa notes. Dangerously drinkable. Recommended.

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Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,064 ratings.
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