Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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89
very good
679 Reviews
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Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin
BEER INFO

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

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfaqU30twwU&feature=youtube_gdata

Added by largadeer on 11-13-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
679
Ratings:
3,032
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
9.8%
 
 
Wants:
232
Gots:
625
For Trade:
5
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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 3,032
Photo of atowle25
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours very dark, almost black, but not quite. Fairly decent carbonation is present.

S - Not a whole lot in the nose, some coffee, and roasted malts mainly. Some faint chocolate.

T - Chocolate, oatmeal, coffee. A good bit of bitterness at the end, followed by more chocolate. Tasty.

M - Plenty of carbonation, medium bodied. I'd prefer it if it was on the creamier side.

D - Very easy to drink. A perfect beer to have during the winter time while watching football.

Overall - Solid beer. Will I buy it again? Possibly. There are certainly bigger beers that offer a lot more, but this is an excellent oatmeal stout to have 2-3 of while watching you're favorite football team lose.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated 10/6/15 into pint glass. Pours a dark ruby-black with just a slight hint of color at the edge. Tan head dissipates rapidly. Initial impression is mildly chocolate with a slightly sweet malt backbone. Moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is a little thin for an oatmeal stout. Very smooth, though. Perhaps not my favorite oatmeal stout, but well worth a try.

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Photo of HosP
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great extra from Scottfrie. Poured 12oz into snifter.

A- Pours not quite black. Some light creeps in around the edges. Nice one finger size head, down to thin cap halfway through the beer.

S- Mostly coffee in the nose. Very subtle hints of oatmeal type aroma. Reminded of a warm breakfast!

T- Coffee flavors up front, although not as strong as I'd hoped. Very smooth creamy drink. Roasted malts come through more at the end and leave some bitterness left with you.

M- Full body with light carbonation. Creamy mouth feel.

D- Very solid oatmeal stout. One of the better ones I've had. Could drink one, maybe two more. Flavors aren't overly spectacular, but still make for a very good beer. Thanks Scott for this nice winter's treat!

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark color.

Bouquet is malty, a bit sour, kinda funky. Unique.

Taste is subtle, malt, cocoa, bitter.

Mouthfeel is moderately rich. Possibly light for a stout, more of a rich imperial porter.

Finish emphasizes the bitter notes, not quite as good as the rest of the beer.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a goblet. Bottled on 1/8/13, so 8 months old.

Poured jet black, with a little under 2 fingers of oatmeal colored head. In fact the head really looks like oatmeal pancakes on the griddle. Head dissipated rather quickly tp a thin covering and collar. Lacing was decent though.

Smell was mostly roasted malt and a little grain

On taking a mouthful, was immediately hit by the roasted malt around the edge of the tongue. But was was interesting to me was that it didn't linger to much, smoothed out quite quickly to a very pleasant and grainy aftertaste. (I'm not a big fan of the stouts whose heavily roasted malts stay with you for hours, so this was enjoyable)

My only real problem with this stout was the extremely thin, almost watery mouth. Would have been a much more enjoyable drink with a medium to full finish.

Overall, I would have it again, though likely won't be scouring the shelfs for it.

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Photo of Tele
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: 4.5 Looks nice. Pours almost black with a two-inch tan head that dissipates quickly.

S: 4.25 Roasted malt up front giving off coffee and bittersweet chocolate aromas. Faint hops.

T: 3.75 Similar to the nose, just a bit more toned down. Nice overall, bit it almost seems a little watery. Not bitter at all, actually a bit tart on the finish.

M: 3.5 Fairly thin for an oatmeal stout. Not a big beer, so I don’t think the mouth feel is too bad but could be a bit more rich.

O: 3.75 A nice drinking stout with good flavors, but there are better examples of the style out there. I’ll probably stick with my one six-pack per season.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Deep brown, looks black in the glass, but you can see through the edges. Almost no head and no lacing. I am unimpressed.

Smell - Wow, it smells great. The aroma is just as good as a much larger stout. Strong coffee aroma with chocolate a roasted malts. I am more optimistic now.

Taste - Coffee up front and chocolate in the finish. Slight hop bitterness in the finish makes the chocolate taste dark. Mmm. It's good. Surprisingly good, in fact.

Mouthfeel - Well, at 5.5%, it's tough to end up with a heavy stout. Creamy, but low in alcohol. It's a good combination to make it a good low ABV stout.

Overall - I edited this review because I didn't think it was great the first time. Now I think it's quite tasty. I'm beginning to appreciate low ABV stout. They pack a big flavor without being 15% and diabetically sweet.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a tulip glass. Pours nearly black in color, with just a hint of ruby highlights. Half an inch of tan head offers decent retention and yields some random lacing. Mid glass a surface film can be regenerated without much effort.

Nose of baker's chocolate and a hint of coffee through the foam. Slightly darker chocolate and roasted malts between swirls, thin at times.

Taste carries forward the roasted malts, a bit of chocolate and a nice oat flavor and body. Smooth feel with a nice texture. Easy drinking for the ABV which is mostly disguised in the structure of the beer. Carbonation is somewhat light yet quite appropriate for the beverage. Worth a try.

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Photo of mkotsayfan
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a dark black with a finger of light-mocha colored head. The aroma has roasted malts, oats, along with some licorice. The taste has some coffee and malts along with some chocolate and bitterness at the end. The mouthfeel is very creamy and smooth, along with being nice and light. It is medium-bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

A very nice sessionable stout, a nice go-to to have during the winter months.

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Photo of matjack85
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend brought this back for me from her trip to San Diego (Thanks Nancy). It's a good thing she did since this beer is only distributed in 6 western states and I couldn't get it even if I wanted it here in Illinois. 12oz brown bottle with no freshness date, despite their website claim that they put bottled on dates on the neck labels of all their beers. My bottle had no date.

The beer poured out a dark brown color with a full 3 finger's worth of light brown head. Head retention was good, but it didn't leave much lacing.

The beer smelled like coffee and cocoa.

Tastes more like a coffee stout than an oatmeal one, but it's still good. Heavy roasted malt flavors along with a strong coffee taste. Unsweetened chocolate and a bit of oatmeal are also there. Not as sweet as most oatmeal stouts, and in fact it has a rather dry wood barrel finish to it. The fuggles hops only add mild bitterness.

Very smooth mouthfeel but way too light to be called creamy. Much thinner than most stouts and it has very low carbonation.

Another good offering from Firestone Walker. Well hidden alcohol and light enough to have more than one.

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Photo of gopens44
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pretty standard looking stout, dark as night with gently lacing thick brown head. Nose is tangy, earthy and a little spicey. Taste is very similar but it's got a touch of chocolate and a nice bitterness hanging out as well. Finish is a tad bitter, virtually no sweetness and aside from some tingly carbonation, it's pretty smooth.

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Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Max's today.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is a bit shy, but I still pick up some nice coffee, light vanilla and light bourbon and light chocolate. On the palate... you can tell this is a low alcohol beer, but damn does it deliver a lot of flavor. The flavor profile basically replicates the nose, but there's just more of everything. There's also a hint of tobacco, smoke and earthiness in the finish that I appreciate as well. It helps to dry out the modest sweetness in this beer. Mouthfeel is pretty good. The beer is soft and plush on the palate, though it's a bit thin as well (but at 5.5% abv., that's hardly a surprise).

While nothing earth shattering here, it's hard not to be impressed with a beer showing this much flavor with such low alcohol. Pretty impressive really...

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a RR snifter...

A - Pours black with a two finger light brown head. Head retention is good, and there is some slippery lacing to be had...

S - Roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and some sweet malt...

T - Starts bitter, but as beer warms a good amount of sweetness is revealed. Sweet caramel, toasted oats, roasted malts, and cocoa. Finishes with on lingering roast note with a little cocoa in the mix...

M - Has a good creamy feel, but still a tad light. On the higher end of medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation...

O - Solid Oatmeal Stout from a solid brewery. Definitely something I will be rivisiting in the future. FW has yet to let me down...

Cheers...

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Callahan's, San Diego.

Pours a solid black color with a patchy, dark tan head. Minimal but deep malt aroma. Smooth and full-bodied (but without being viscous) with light carbonation. Good malt flavor with some coffee - not too much "roasted" flavor, but that lets the cream and oat flavors through. A pretty nice and tasty oatmeal stout, with a fairly low ABV.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into my New Belgium globe glass produces a fat-two-finger thick, brown stained, dark tan colored head. The beer is a rich black color that shows some clear, brown hues around the edges if it is held up directly to the light. The nose smells of roasted grain, well browned, quite toasted whole grain bread, touches of roasted coffee and just a generally, ample dark / roasted malt character. I like that the nose escapes being sharp or acrid from the roast malt focus. There is a touch of roundness and perhaps subtle sweetness towards the finish of the aroma; this accentuates touches of chocolate and perhaps some sweet coffee ice-cream like aromatics. As the beer warms up it picks up more of a roasted nutty like character.

Light bodied and dry up front, as the beer moves across the palate it picks up a touch of perceived, and perhaps even actual sweetness. The sweetness is brought out by a very soft, subtle Bourbon barrel influence that leans towards toasted coconut and vanillin and perhaps a hint of Bourbon / oak spiciness. The barrel influence is really quite subtle, and if I didn’t know it was here, I might not have really picked it up. Ample cold coffee roast flavors are here, there is a full, whole grain toasted character here, as well as a touch of complexly browned, barley husk like notes; this last is quite smooth and integrated and adds a sort of whole grain spiciness to this brew. The body has a certain creaminess to it, my vigorous pour knocked out much of the carbonation; this is definitely light and quaffable, but I like that it has a touch of fullness to it. The finish has a lingering, slightly bitter, burnt roast character to it; this is accentuated by a light, prickly effervescence from the carbonation.

The Bourbon barrel influence is quite subtle in the aroma, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of Bourbon character here, but it is definitely quite reduced from Velvet Merkin. In the flavor it is soft, but it is also noticeable; I do like that it was kept at a very low level here, but I almost feel like it could use a touch more as I almost feel like it is too subtle. That can be a dangerous thing though, as I definitely prefer that the barrel character be kept fairly low. Still, this is a fantastic beer and is something I am quite happy to have a 6-pack of (the $6.99 price doesn’t hurt either); the extra boost of smooth complexity from the Bourbon barrel really adds something to this beer.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Received as an extra from barleywinefiend, thanks Josh!

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black, color with one finger of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of oatmeal, roasted malts, bitter chocolate, light coffee, and light bready malts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, light oat, light coffee, toffee, and bready malts. A step up from the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, pretty smooth and creamy. Pretty good mouthfeel.

d - A good oatmeal stout full of chocolate and roasted malts mostly. A little bit bitter but I liked it a lot. Would certainly have again.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

A: Pours an opaque mahogany with carbonation speckling the sides of the glass. Creamy head dissipates quickly.

N: Grass, leafy hops, and milk chocolate. Light roasted malt and mild coffee. Oatmeal is prevalent in nose.

T: A fine balnace leaning a shade to the malty sweet side. Hops add a nice roundness and the oatmeal adds some pleasant grain. Lots of chocolate notes.

M: carbonated and feeling; drinks like a heavier beer. Quite smooth.

O: A perfect 'summer' stout. Easy to sip and a pleasure to drink while grilling.

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Photo of olmatty
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance-Pours a deep black color with a sticky tan head head.

Smell-Coffee and roasty almost burnt roast aroma, but not harsh or astringent and certainly not unpleasant.

Taste-Smooth balance of roast, burnt coffee grounds, chocolate, and a sour oaty finish that smooths out the whole thing. Hop bitterness hits the front of the tongue at the very end and lingers. fading gradually.

Mouthfeel-Creamy, smooth

Overall-A very nice oatmeal stout, perhaps one of the best. Why is this no longer Merkin?

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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 seedsofchaos
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle in a trade with Sirk. No date indicators but I'm fairly certain it was produced last year (2010). Opened on February 12th, 2011.

Poured into a brandy snifter, this beer is rather impervious to light. Extremely dark fudge brown in color, we're really talking black. A 1/2 inch khaki head rises slowly with the pour and then falls quickly. Highlights are of ruby and blood reds which shine from the surface in the light. Little to no lacing. Big and roasty in the nose with plenty of roasted barley for my nostrils pleasure. Coffee and oatmeal are prominent as expected. The bouquet is creamy, fairly simple and inviting.

Coffee like roast continues in the taste with a touch of bitter from it. Creamy enough but a little yeasty. Definite flavors of oats mingle in with smooth roasted malts. Nothing overpowering here. This beer is very simple as I would expect an oatmeal stout to be.

This is a great morning / early afternoon beer. I would be happy to call this a breakfast stout. With its clean mouthfeel, this beer could definitely pair well with waffles and syrup. Finishes dry but not overly so, I would definitely enjoy washing down my breakfast with Velvet Merlin.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, bottled 11/27/2013; the freshest I've ever seen it. Poured into a clear plastic cup today, 1/9/2014.

Pours a dark mocha brown body, could be nearly black; with a very well-formed head that takes quite a while to recede. It's on the verge of being overcarbonated. The head is tan coloured; and there is a good bit of lacing that reminds me of espresso. Solid stoutish looking beer.

Smells very roasty, with a nice nuttiness and bitter espresso flavours to it. Not particularly earthy or hoppy, but the nuttiness stands out in the nose. Fairly strong and aromatic nose.

Tastes a bit thin; like the notes in the nose except quite a bit more muted. Mostly a wateriness up front, with a fairly roasty, nutty middle and a bitter coffee backend. Not the most complex, but certainly presents a decently drinkable flavour profile.

Medium bodied, very creamy and well carbonated. Very slick and viscous on the tongue- Firestone Walker has nailed the mouthfeel on this one for sure. Very creamy and smooth. Aftertaste is a mild espresso bitterness that does have some staying power.

Solid oatmeal stout, for the style it's got an exceptional nose and mouthfeel. The flavour profile doesn't quite live up to the rest of the beer, but it's a solid seasonal six-pack from Firestone Walker. Probably the first one from them I've actually enjoyed.

 1,349 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped 09/25/14. Sampled on December 24, 2014.

It pours a deep dark charcoal black with ruby red hues and a modest, short lived tan head.

The aroma is of dark malts, oatmeal, and coffee.

The body is better than medium but I would not call it bold and heavy.

The taste has a nice coffee and dark malt character with that oatmeal and the bitterness is mild at the end. It is quite easy to drink.

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Photo of philbe311
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - A standard pour yields two fingers worth of active audibly fizzy rapidly fading medium brown colored head... The minimal at best retention gives way to an uneven splotchy veil of lacing and a thin collar... Mostly still with some stray sluggish carbonation streaks deep within... The color is an opaque black that splits the difference between flat and shiny... Not a bad looking beer by any means...

S - Big enticing aroma... Sweet milk chocolate... Lightly roasted coffee beans... A slight lactose component... Perhaps some raisins and dark fruits... Everything one should expect in an Oatmeal Stout in wonderful balance with nice layers of depth and complexity...

T - The lightly roasted coffee is first to the party... Then a slightly sweet lactose component... The milk chocolate takes a slightly distant back seat... A hint of roasted malt... The dark fruit notes are buried way beneath the surface, but still noticeable... There is a nice dark chocolate component on the deep finish...

M - On the fuller side of medium bodied... A limited bit of sharp crisp carbonation... Slightly sleek... Slightly smooth... A touch of creaminess...

D - A rock solid Oatmeal Stout (which shouldn't be a surprise coming from Firestone Walker who does everything)... Not world class, but way better than average... Highly enjoyable... Loaded with character and complexity... All with a 5.5% ABV bow wrapped around... All components work well together and the end result is a brew that seems to be a bit more than the sum of its parts... Nicely done...

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Photo of vacax
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ a few weeks ago at the Firestone 13 party. Review from notes. Poured into a goblet, very dark brown with red highlights. About one centimeter of tan head, high retention, fair lacing. Aroma is bready with oats, toasty, biscuity, fruity, and pops with some chocolate malts to it. Tastes of estery chocolate malts, robust levels of oats, biscuit and dough. Finish is roasty, bready, and cookielike. Feels thick and silky. Good oatmeal stout, better than average, but do not expect anything more than a regular oatmeal stout.

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Photo of tbern007
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown/black, gigantic head, very good lacing.
Scent is lighter than I expect- coffee, mild chocolate, roasted malt, slight sweetness of the chocolate.
Taste is of primarily coffee, mild chocolate.
Very light- less carbonated, not as creamy as I would have liked.
Overall good- the mouthfeel is a little disappointing.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,032 ratings.
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