Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet Merlin Oatmeal StoutVelvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout
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Style:
Stout - Oatmeal
Ranked #47
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
90
Ranked #5,632
Avg:
4.02 | pDev: 9.7%
Reviews:
707
Ratings:
3,128
From:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  248
Gots
  643
SCORE
90
Outstanding
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: 3,128 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Hack:
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Hack from Colorado

4.52/5  rDev +12.4%

Dec 11, 2014
More User Reviews:
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UCLABrewN84 from California

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

Pours a deep, dark brown bordering on black with a 2 inch tan colored head. Lacing is spotty on the glass on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, oatmeal, and weak coffee. Taste is of dark roasted malt and oats with a slight bitter coffee flavor. Bitterness is slight after each sip. Good carbonation with a medium body. Very easy to drink. A good dark sessionable beer clocking in at 5.5% ABV.

Feb 25, 2011
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metter98 from New York

4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is very close to being jet black in color—only slight traces of dark brown are visible near the edge of the glass. It poured with a quarter finger high dark beige head that died down.
S: Light to moderate aromas of oatmeal, dark malts, and roasted malts are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of dark and roasted malts along with notes of oatmeal and slight bits of sweetness towards the finish. Some hints of coffee beans are also perceptible.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Faint amounts of dryness are also noticeable.
O: For a lighter oatmeal stout, this beer still offers some complexities in the taste that makes it interesting to drink.

Serving type: bottle

Nov 15, 2014
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

completely opaque liquid coming forward in front of me. Rich dark brown notes, with a good sized head of maybe an inch in height coming over the top of it. Nice settling left behind a thin layer and a good amount of side glass lace.

The aroma was your typical oatmeal stout, though a touch more bitter then what I was expecting. Nice notes of lactose, chocolate and vinous hops. Some light grain notes as well in the finish. Rich, though not terribly filling. Lots of burnt and roasted malt flavors in here. Not as sweet as the aroma would have led me to believe it would have been, still though very solid in both bitterness and malt profile. Light notes of chocolate floating around, but again nothing terribly too swee

Aug 27, 2011
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Chris_Huston from Texas

2.83/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I don't know if this is a bad bottle, or just how bad they can conceivably get, but this was a huge disappointment. Nothing wrong on the eyes -- classic, unsurprising stout look and pour, very healthy. But very weak, roasted aroma, same on the taste, and little other scents or flavors. Body is more like a porter, too watery for a stout. Not horrible, but just very bland compared to other entries in this competitive category, and definitely way below FW standards. I'll try it again eventually just to verify my findings, but won't rush for another.

Nov 22, 2015
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tectactoe from Michigan

3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Black. Black as black can be... Surprisingly black, actually, with another surprisingly deep brown and tainted mocha colored head that foams up to a few fingers quickly, and then hastily retreats to a weak film stretched across the black hole. A few splotches of tan lacing are left near the top of the glass and that's about it. I know it's an oatmeal stout, but I wasn't expecting this level of darkness.

The aroma ventures into the cream and silky chocolate range with a mild oat undertaking and plenty of dark and lightly roasted malt. The darkness and roast don't come without a somewhat out of kilter, but nevertheless balancing, creamy sweetness - the beauty of sweet/oatmeal stouts, right? The nose shows just a touch of dark fruit in the finish... Not as captivating as I was expecting, but a decent smelling oatmeal stout nonetheless.

Velvet Merlin tricks me a little bit, as the taste is definitely more roasted than you would ever be able to anticipate just from taking a few whiffs. Lightly charred malt is met by a quieter, softer prune and dark fruit sweetness that lends every hand it has in an attempt to balance, and eventually does a respectable job of it, even if not immediately.

More milk chocolates explode about halfway through, flowing into a graciously soft and dry oat filled finish. Sweetness is contempt, yet notable and overall balanced pretty well with the roast and the dry oats. The mouth feel of this beer doesn't swoon me with its sexy silkiness like oatmeal stouts should (and like many of them do), so I must dock it a few points in that regard.

Velvet Merlin is a pretty good oatmeal stout all around, but it really wasn't a mind-blowing or incredible experience for me, and there are certainly some options that are more local to me that I'd take over it (New Holland's The Poet, or even Rogue's Shakespeare, as much as I hate Rogue and their business practices... but that's neither here nor there). Really good, but not legendary.

Sep 17, 2013
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle was poured into a nonic glass.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Sweet and bready oats, vanilla, milk chocolate, roasted coffee, char, smoke, and earthy aromas.

Taste: Same as above. Nice sweetness and bready oats. Very tasty oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, some silky and creamy notes, light bodied, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty nice oatmeal stout. I wouldn't mind trying out the big daddy version. I am content with this one for the time being.

Nov 01, 2014
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huntley101888 from New York

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%

Aroma - smells sweet with notes of coffee and toffee maybe a bit of chocolate, but mostly the first two. 11/12

Appearance - Inky black color. No light is getting through this thing. Half a finger of tan head dissapated very quickly to a thin ring of foam around the surface of the glass. 3/3

Flavor - The obvious flavors are coffee and bitter chocolate up front. Those lead to the oaty sweetness that you'd expect in an oatmeal stout. I'm going to sound crazy here, but the sweetness taste reminds me of the smell of pumpkin puree. Please don't interpret that as this is a pumpkin beer, but that's what's in my brain. 18/20

Mouthfeel - lightly carbed, which is appropriate for style. Creamy mouthfeel - not too heavy but not too thin. 5/5

Overall - This is a very good oatmeal stout and is true to style. If you're looking for a good stout, try this one. 9/10

Nov 20, 2014
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Burnished walnut brown with burnt orange edges and a lack of opacity... which is no sin in beer of this style and ABV. The lovely looking lid of golden ecru colored foam that was created on the pour is becoming soft and creamy as it melts. Nice lace too.

A small percentage of bourbon barrel-aged Merlin was combined with non-bourbon barrel-aged Merlin to create Merlin. Make sense? There's almost no whiskey in the nose, just the usual roasted and chocolate notes of the style... but it's enough.

As always, my taste buds are more sensitive than my nose. Still, this is not beer that will scare away those who don't care for the taste of America's finest spirit. That particular characteristic is subtle, which is exactly what is needed in a 5.5% oatmeal stout that doesn't otherwise poleaxe your palate with malt flavor.

Specific flavors include bittersweet chocolate, charred coffee beans, burnt sugar, and a complementary tea leaf bitterness from U.S. Fuggles. Barely more than 3 months in the bottle ensures that this is still relatively balanced beer. More bourbon would've been a mistake.

The mouthfeel is the only (slight) disappointment. It's a fraction thin, doesn't hang on like it should, and the carbonation could add more lift and expansive creaminess. Not bad at all, it just doesn't keep pace with the other attributes.

Firestone Walker is a good-to-great craft brewery. Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout is closer to good than great, which is fine with me. Here's hoping this is a year-round release.

Jan 14, 2011
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DaverCS from Arizona

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured little to no head. Moderate carbonation. Not too much lacing.

I get a very nice nose on this beer. I get tons of roasted coffee and intense dark chocolate ... Almost like pure coco powder. Heavy malts also present on the nose.

Taste doesn't match the richness of the nose. The intensity of the flavor is pretty flat and watery. Up front I get carbonation and wateriness followed by mild malt, mild coffee, and mild chocolate. Touch of hops at the finish.

Overall not worth the time. Pretty watery and not too much flavor despite the deceiving nose. I would pair it with smoked brisket or a porcini mushroom rubbed hangar steak. I give it a 83.5/100

Jan 24, 2015
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SmashAdams from New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Really nice stout. Super smooth and easy drinking and nice low abv. The smell is light toasty malts and oats with some chocolate. The taste is similar. I see why they call it velvet. yb

Nov 06, 2015
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rydev24 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Mar 02, 2013
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djmichaelk from Florida

3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a perfect pint.

A - Pours a coffee color, with amber highlights in the light. Couple of fingers of light brown head that looks coarse at first, but settles into a finer-looking pillow of foam that sticks around for a long time. Bits of lacing, but it doesn't hang around.

S - Chocolate and cocoa, coffee, and roast. Nice but not extraordinary.

T - More of the same. The roast is certainly more forward in the finish. Sweeter than I would think; more milk chocolate than dark. More coffee in the front when it warms. Pretty good.

M - Chilled, creamy but thin. But the carbonation is very fine, so as it warms it starts to make me think of a nitro-stout, although I know this isn't. The creaminess helps to offset the initial thinness. Nearer to room temperature, it's definitely much better.

D - The sweetness kind of gets to me after a while, but the flavors are nice otherwise and the improved feel helps a lot. I could go for another.

O - Doesn't quite live up to the hype, but a good beer nonetheless. Worth getting a 6-pack and having once in a while.

Nov 14, 2010
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keithmurray from Connecticut

3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - dark mahogany nearly black beer with dark tan head

Smell - roasted malts, coffee bean, chocolate, oats

Taste - similar to the aroma with roasted malts, coffee bean, chocolate and oats

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, slight sweetness upfront, flavors coat the palate on the back end

Overall - decent example of the style, worth a try

Price Point - $1.89/12 oz single

Jan 01, 2015
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plumcrazyfx from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Apr 24, 2013
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Daktah from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Oct 25, 2013
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switzer from Oregon

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Apr 14, 2012
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2GOOFY from California

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Oct 20, 2012
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BKBassist from New York

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown/black with a surprisingly fast clearing head.

S - A hit of fresh roasted coffee, some minerally/grainy touches. A undercurrent of sweetness.

T - Initial hints of smoke and roast fade quickly to a full on sweet grain explosion. There is an almost savory/buttery/umami quality to the finish.

M - Perfect chewiness for the style, the viscosity brings to mind a higher ABV (which works for me, watery stouts be damned)

O - A very solid offering into a style that doesn't always bring too much excitement (minus the Imperial and BA versions). Very drinkable, with enough complexity to satisfy the connoisseur as well.

Jan 22, 2014
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Honeybourne from Scotland

3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nov 12, 2016
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Meyers1023 from New York

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Aug 09, 2014
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webweb2 from Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nov 30, 2015
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Borrego805 from California

4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Feb 04, 2015
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zeff80 from Missouri

4/5  rDev -0.5%

May 17, 2014
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mattmarka1 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -0.5%

Jan 14, 2014
Velvet Merlin Oatmeal Stout from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 3128 ratings