Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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very good
668 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:
668
Ratings:
2,973
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
232
Gots:
603
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 668 | Ratings: 2,973
Photo of CTbrew32
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a one finger, creamy, white/mocha head. Jet black color.

Aroma- Great aroma consisting of milk chocolate, bready/oats, and very faint roast notes. Smells like chocolate cake or pancakes.

Taste- From start to finish milk chocolate flavors are front and center alongside dry brown sugar bread flavors and dry oats which help clean the palate. Chocolate becomes less pronounced as it warms up oddly, but sweetness from the oats makes up for that slight loss.

Mouthfeel- Medium/full mouthfeel with chocolate malts coating the mouth and the oats providing a dry palate cleansing finish. Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall- Amongst all the high abv stouts the lower abv stouts can be overlooked too frequently. However, Velvet Merlin is a great stout that does a few great things rather than a bunch of average things.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black body, with ruby highlights at the bottom of the glass. Medium-to-dark tan head of dense foamy micro-bubbles. Stretchy lace as the head recedes.

Aroma is heavy with coffee, maybe a touch of cream. Hint of oatmeal.

Taste starts with a sip of coffee, followed by a dollop of chocolate, a spoon of oatmeal, a hop bite, then a big dose of stronger coffee to finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit prickly for an oatmeal stout, not as rounded as expected.

Despite the slightly disappointing mouthfeel, it's a quality stout, well worth sampling.

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Photo of capra12
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed solo served out of a pint glass.

Appearance: Deep dark brown with a 1 finger head with spotty lacing.

Smell: This really got my off guard, I got a medium roasted iced coffee with roasted powdered chocolate.

Taste: Opens very with a dark malt profile with coffee and chocolate malts that meld together from the middle to end. Leaving a dark and malty stick aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rather light bodied and moderately carbonated. Slightly sticky and drying finish.

Drinkability: I would definitely have this again and thanks to alexander for this bottle from Darkness day. I recommend this to those seeking a solid oatmeal stout with a ton of well balanced flavor.

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Photo of blackie
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

single from Wilbur's, Fort Collins

a: served in a short chalice, all that’s on hand in the hotel, deep stained brown in color, khaki head with average retention

s: the nose opens with grainy graham crackers and earthy roasted malt, woody coffee, subtle hints of smoke, toasted oat breads, mild earthy hops, qutie nuanced for a roast product - simple at first whiff, but there's a lot to dig into here

m: carbonation gentle, light-moderate, with a medium body, easy on the palate with a slight creaminess

t: toasted grains grace the palate with flavors of earth, nuts, coffee, smoke and wood - delicate and balanced, only slight burnt sugars present, hops earthy and impart a mild bitterness to the finish that lingers with a slight smoky roast note

o: very nice oatmeal stout that's incredibly drinkable, well balanced while showcasing the roasted malts and oats without interruption

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Photo of Andrew041180
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Very nearly black with a bubbly tan head. It recedes quickly. Not much lacing on the glass. I occasionally catch a glimpse of some visible carbonation.

S - I'm putting my whole face in the glass and not coming up with much. Some light roastiness.

T - Really mild but tasty flavors. Nothing burnt. I think it's mostly coffee with hints of dark chocolate.

M - Velvet indeed. The highpoint of this beer is the softness of it. Nearly full-bodied. Not slick. Just right. Finishes remarkably clean.

O - Solid beer for someone who isn't crazy about stouts. Recommended.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brought this back from the bay area. It’s one of my favorite stouts and I’m so glad I found it.

This poured a gorgeous jet black into my nonic with a wonderful three inch foam—the kind of pour they take photos of for magazines. (Or the kind of pour they should take pics of!) Yes, the foam dies down after a few minutes but it’s still a beauty.

This doesn’t have a big roasty aroma to it but it’s there, along with some coffee and cacoa . As with Firestone Walker’s DBA or anniversary beers it’s about balance and nuance.

The roast is the first thing I notice when I taste. Roasty, sweet, with cocoa nibs and espresso beans and a nicely warming body, smooth and delicious.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Very dark brown body, bordering on black. Foamy, light brown head that sits on top and lingers around.

S- Roasted malts, grainy oats, a hint of bitter coffee, slight herbal hop note.

T- Lots of roasted malts, smooth cereal-like oats, hints of bitter unsweetened dark chocolate, with a dash of roasted coffee. Lots of flavor packed into a lower-abv beer.

M- Very smooth, medium bodied, medium carbonation, slight dryness on the finish.

O- A very solid oatmeal stout that packs a lot of flavor into an unassuming beer.

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Photo of MrKennedy
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with huge thanks to nicks6217! Poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip style glass.

Looks jet black with a tan coloured head of foam that commenced at 2 fingers in height. Sat just above film for the duration. Spotty glass lacing.

Nice, complex and relatively big aromas. Coffee, chocolate, licorice, dark fruits as well. Very nice and intriguing.

Taste is nice and smooth and well done. Chocolate is first, coffee at the end and the oats in the middle of it.

Mouthfeel is a little thin early and continues to build and build in thickness. With all the chocolate in this, the finish isn't cloying, balanced out by the coffee and a touch of other bitterness.

Very good oatmeal stout, flavoursome, complex, well balanced.

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Photo of jsanford
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip

A - Dark black with a thin, mocha-colored head that dissipates quickly to a thin ring and slight haze. Leaves a tiny bit of spotty lacing.
S - Dark roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, toasted oats and just a slight whiff of toasted marshmallow. Very nice.
T - More dark malt and dark chocolate, with a nice coffee bitterness in the finish. Very nicely balanced, not to overwhelmingly "roasty".
M - Incredibly (dare I say it?) velvety with a medium-heavy body and ample carbonation.
D - Having no problems drinking this one, the amazing mouthfeel helps a lot.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for giving me a bottle of this

Consumed 2/28/13

Appearance: Dark brown, some nice clarity around the edges - small, light tan head - fades to a minimal, wispy cap - leaves some nice streaks of lacing though

Smell: Roasty and lightly sweet - roasted grains, with some touches of burnt, chocolate malts - some dark chocolate as well - a distinct, lightly sweet oatmeal aroma - some chocolatey, grainy sweetness overall

Taste: Roasty oatmeal with a splash of coffee and chocolate - roasty malts, toasted malts, and some lightly sweet caramel malt - touches of roasty coffee, dark chocolate, and some semisweet chocolate - minimal bitterness, mostly of the roasty variety - some cooked sugar - nicely balanced overall

Mouthfeel: Medium body, about as smooth as an oatmeal stout should be, clean, nicely dry and very drinkable

Overall: Merlin's beard!

This is quite the clean, well-balanced, and drinkable oatmeal stout. No surprise from Firestone Walker... I would definitely seek this out. I get other Firestone Walker beers, and I hope this eventually makes it to the East Coast, as this is one of the best oatmeal stouts I've had in a while.

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Photo of flexabull
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy to see this at the Alehouse in Redding.

Pours a dark brown color with a faint off white head.

Aromas are of roasted malts, some cocoa, and vanilla.

Taste is clean and smooth. Some chocolate, light coffee, and a creamy sweetness. Finish has a slight pine hop bitter note.

Mouthfeel is great. Very smooth.

Drinkability is this beers strong suit. A tasty oatmeal stout that goes down easy and is not to heavy.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the purple pubic wig at Sac Brew.

A - Pours a dark brown, with 1.5 fingers mocha colored head. Dissipates fast and leaves no lacing.

S/T - Oats, raisin, medium roast coffee, and lots of chocolate.

M - Full bodied, malt dominated and very smooth. No taste of alcohol either.

D - Great overall, would love to have again and again.

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Photo of Giovacchini
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A- pitch black with a thin tan head that disapates.

S- toffee, roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, and raisins.

T- roasted malt, coffee, bread, chocolate, molasses, raisins, and toffee.

M- creamy mouthfeel with subtle carbonation. Alcohol brings a little warmth to the palate.

O- This is a decent beer. My first oatmeal stout I had was Samuel Smith's and this beer is very much comparable to it. It has a nice rich flavor and it's low alcohol makes it very drinkable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty good oatmeal stout. There don't seem to be a lot of them out there to try really. Nice toasted and malty smoked tones that stay consistent. Been a while since I've gotten a nose like this that I can remember. Smooth, well constructed, even. I like it.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thoroughly enjoyed on tap and picked up a bottle at the brewery in November. An excellent American stout, although without the full-fledged creaminess found in some other oatmeal varietals.

Pours a dark, near-black amber with moderate coffee coloured head. Beautiful aroma of roasted dark malts has coffee, chocolate and some smokiness. The taste is well balanced and truly outstanding: a nice mix of caramelized sweetness with an underlying dry backbone and nicely bitter finish. Many layers of chocolate and espresso flavours, along with an assortment of with roasted and toasted malts.

Would highly recommend!

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Photo of larryi86
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated 2/17/2014 poured into a snifter

A- Black with a small two finger light tan head.

S- Dark chocolate, espresso/roasted coffee, very rich.

T- Lighter than the nose, some dark chocolate, roasted coffee, hints of piney hops, nice balance.

M- Smooth, light to medium body, creamy.

O- A very nice and enjoyable stout that is easy to drink.

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Photo of arizcards
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine in late October for $8.49.

Beer poured black with a bubbly floating tan head.

Nose is sweet roasted malts and chocolate nibs.

Taste is a very nice blend of rosted malts, chocolate, with a well balanced dry hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, somewhat smooth but very satisfying.

Overall drinkability is very good. This is one of the best in class i have had this year. I hope to see more of it in the future!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an extra from Huadog (thanks Russ!). It pours a dark reddish brown, not quite opaque, with a few fingers of tan foam that settle to a stable ring. The aroma is nice, lots of roasted malt and maybe a hint of bourbon? Really rich smelling, especially as it warms.

It tastes sweet, malty sweet up front with a lingering bitterness that seems to be related to roast more than hops. No discernable bourbon in the taste, just the smell. Creamy mouthfeel, this went down easily and quickly.

This was a fantastic oatmeal stout, a style I'm sort of neutral on. But I'd take it again any time.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet; received as an extra from the generous hamilton23. Thanks!

Mmm...Velvet Merlin and chocolate chip cookies.

Pours a thick pubic-hair black body with edges of 'Just for Men Brown' and a playful tuft of khaki bubbles on top. Really just a picture perfect aroma for the style, here: big roastiness balances with creamy oatmeal and chocolate. Earthy, fragrant, and nothing like a Merkin in terms of aroma. I should know--I'm wearing one.

Smuggled plums and other phallic dark fruits greet the palate with bold chocolates, black coffee, and roasted malt. A little creaminess from the oat, but acridity is the major player. Body is full and luscious for a 5.5% stout, ending well with a smooth, yet bitter roasted finish. Overall, a tasty beer with a funnier name from the good folks at Firestone. Strap one on and give it a try!

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Photo of billab914
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured dark brown in color with a frothy, creamy, tan head to it. The head faded to a thin, bubbly layer rather quickly, and clung to the edges of the glass.

The aroma shows some darker, bitter-sweet chocolate to it along with the creamy, oatmeal flavor. A little bit of vanilla and coffee peek through as well. Very nice aroma, the oats are well represented and very nice.

The taste starts off with some of the creamy oatmeal and sweeter chocolate flavors to it. Midway it starts to get a little roastier, with a little coffee like flavor to it. I get a little more of the bitter-sweet chocolate in the finish. Very nice flavors overall.

The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a very nice beer, It had some great flavors to it and was very easy drinking. The oats came through nicely and gave it a nice creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Very nice beer overall.

The taste

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Photo of Verecund
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Received as an extra from mrbubbler. Thanks!

Pours a char brown with some mahogany hues about the edges. Not much in the way of head on the first pour; a tan ring sits about the edges of the glass. The second pour is better, yielding a half-finger head, but it recedes fairly quickly.

Milk chocolate, some milky, lactic tones, toasty malts, and a caramel nuttiness. Nice depth to it, though there's a bit much in the way of lactic milk creaminess.

Great balance here. Toasty, biscuit maltiness, a light, sweet coffee note (like coffee with cream), some milk chocolate. A nice oat graininess helps round this out.

Medium-bodied, with just-under medium carbonation. As with most oatmeal stouts, it's fairly creamy and full in the mouth.

A pretty nice example of the style, what I find distracting in the nose actually works on the palate - the lactic finish blends nicely with the light roasted malt notes. It goes down easily.

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Photo of trevorjn06
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown and is almost black when held up to the light. No head really, just a thin layer of tan foam.

Aroma is roasty and toasty with chocolate, espresso, some fruits (plums and cherries) and light caramel.

Taste fairly smooth with caramels, rich chocolate and some coffee. There is a smooth, nutty oat flavor through the middle of this stout, it makes it very drinkable an delicious. The finish is sweet caramels, chocolate and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth feel to it and medium/low carbonation.

Overall a very smooth and drinkable stout with nice chocolate and malt flavors, I would drink this again.

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Photo of SanFranJake
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this beer. Poured into a plain ass snifter and was great!
Beer buying (not yet drinking) a lot of their beer lately (five XVI's, Parabola and DDBA's as I find) and had to try.
Pours a deep dark brown with great head that slowly dissipates.
Usual aromas of coffee and chocolate as expected but suprisingly drinkable and not the least bit filling as I expect a stout to be.
Great aftertaste and overall, if I'm looking for a drinkable stout that isnt barrel aged or fancy, I think I've found it.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a near black with a hint of auburn brown peeking through where light can penetrate. Head is tan, powder snow fluffy and 2 fingers thick, good retention and a decent lace.

Smell - Potent oatmeal stout aromas here: Classic, roasty chocolate and coffee.

Taste - Bold cocoa and roasty coffee malt backbone, complimented by a nice hoppy bitterness. Simple, but assertive.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body, smooth and velvety. Goes down easy, despite the big flavor.

Overall - First time having this beer, and it's my favorite Firestone brew to date. Classic oatmeal stout flavors, but big, bold and beautifully balanced. Definitely a future buy.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint

Appearance: Pretty dark, some light penetrates when held up, nice creamy tan head that does not live long but there is some incredible lacing.

Aroma: Roasted malts, chocolate, some coffee, no alcohol on the nose, nice roasted chocolate coffee aroma

Taste: Up front, roasted chocolate malts, some coffee notes, some bitterness and alcohol on the backend, dry finish, nice roasted aftertaste, very smooth flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy smooth mouthfeel, lots of carbonation, dry finish, very smooth, get a slight alcohol burn, but very slight.

Overall: I'm a huge oatmeal stout fan and this has to be one of my favorites. It has it all, smooth roasted, chocolate, coffee flavors, smooth creamy mouthfeel, most of all is the roasted malt flavors and aromas that stand out, great oatmeal stout and one of my winter favorites.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 2,973 ratings.
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