Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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89
very good
665 Reviews
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Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin
BEER INFO

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

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:
665
Ratings:
2,966
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
232
Gots:
600
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 665 | Ratings: 2,966
Photo of sweethome
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour is dark cola color - a bit cloudy when heald to light. Tan head turns wispy in a moment or two. Nose of roasted malt and chocolate.

Medium mouthfeel on entry - a pretty straight through mouthfeel until the finish when an astringency develops in the back of the mouth and leaves a roast and chocolate fade. Creaminess from oatmeal is evident.

The chocolate bar forward flavor profile is quite nice. Roast is present but not overpowering. A flavorful stout - well constructed.

 481 characters

Photo of kzoobrew
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour reveals a cola brown liquid exiting the glass, settling into the glass an opaque black color. One and a half finger fizzy malted milk colored head is set atop. The head recedes in a rather quick manner, leaving a rocky ring lingering on the outside. Moderate lacing clings to the walls of the glass.

The aroma is very pleasing, a bit more assertive than I imagined. A pleasant roasted character is prominent up front. The roasted aroma dances in between malt and coffee aromas. Warmth subdues the sweetness and really expands the aroma. Cocoa powder aroma really builds on what was picked up before. The roast somehow becomes more integrated.

The flavor comes in layers, displaying tremendous balance. Sweet chocolate and creme flavors roll across the tongue. A pleasant roasted malt and java develop just behind. There is a subtle caramel flavor which peaks its head out from below rounding out the flavor. As the beer sits and warms the sweet chocolate moves towards a bittersweet chocolate flavor, the medium roasted coffee flavor moves to a darker, fuller roast.

The mouthfeel is absolute perfection, I see no room for improvement here. Medium bodied Oatmeal Stout delivering a smooth, creamy, dare I say velvety texture.

We all have our preferences in beers and styles. I have a definite preference for the bigger stouts. The bodies are fuller, the flavors more intense, they simple appeal to me much more than their smaller counterparts. If their were more stouts like Velvet Merlin out there, I may change my mind. Flavors are bold and balanced, the body smooth and creamy. I find it hard to admit sometimes that another state makes a better stout than what is available in Michigan, at least a Kalamazoo boy is responsible for this one. Absolutely awesome beer, fantastic. Big thanks to KevSal for the bottle.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a huge Duvel tulip glass. I poured aggressive and got a huge 4 inch tanish head, that fell quickly, leaving a good amount of lacing. A light black color on the beer itself. Smell is dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, hints of toffee, and some piney hops. Taste is lots of expresso, really dominates, but it isn't a bad thing. Body is fairly thin, but that is expected for the modest abv. Kind of dry, with a good amount of life. A nice beer, I would drink this a good amount if it was available.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown, yet pitch black in the glass. Nice 1 finger foamy tan head with great retention and lacing.

Dark bitter malt and oats along with dark bittersweet chocolate make up the nose.

Flavor has the same characteristics as the nose but brighter and more robust. Nice balance. Notes of bittersweet chocolate, nice oatmeal and dark malt. Very pleasant and slightly sweet after taste.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Pretty much full bodied with medium creamy carb.

Overall a great oatmeal stout that's a pleasure to look forward to around the holidays every year.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Single bottle into two glasses with oglmcdgl, an extra in a recent trade. Hopefully six packs make it over here some day.

A- Out of the bottle Merkin looks a dirty brown bordering on black. Once it's all together it has a black appearance but up to light it has brown and reddish spots. A steady pour yielded a frothy milkshake like head with great retention, minor stick.

S- A very deep creamy appeal to this one as im getting a lot of chocolate as well as the advertised oatmeal. A bunch of roasted malt is a strong contender as well. A very small amount of coffee.

T- This is a very nice oatmeal stout with a huge creaminess, perhaps the most I've had from this style. A bunch of oatmeal & chocolate with slight burnt coffee. A nice amount of hops to balance all those dark flavors. Great flavor from this very fresh bottle

M- Medium to slightly thick in the mouth which I was not expecting from the look of the pour. Creamy as hell, smooth as silk. Carbed up without being bitey at all, yet a small bitterness from the roast coffee.

D- At 5.5% this is quite drinkable and with the robust flavors I could drink a few without getting bored. One of the better examples of an oatmeal stout that I've had. I enjoy everything I have had from this brewery.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep, ruby brown in color with a nice creamy tan head. Strong roasted aroma with a bevy of graininess. Rich roasted flavor-very coffee like with a nice touch of dark chocolate. Lingering dryness from the heavy roasted flavors. Ok mouthfeel wise-could use a kick in the pants "stout wise". Lacks some of the velvety creaminess of an oatmeal stout. A nice stout for the most part. Personally I was looking for more "umph" but still a nice example.

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Photo of rtaps
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown (almost black) like a stout normally does. About a 1/4 inch thick head tan colored and dense.

smell is mostly dominated by chocolate. Oatmeal plays in the back round

Taste nutty, and rich chocolate. with a mild hint of oatmeal

mouth feel is smooth and creamy like your typical stout

overall this is a good seasonal stout worth enjoy during the winter time nothing to special but easy to drink.

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Photo of bld81
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle poured into a pint glass:
A: pours dark brown, very small head but thick and dense
S: roasted grain malts and oats, smoky, chocolate
T: baker's chocolate - just sweet enough to notice but some bitterness, earthy, slight alcohol burn
M: full bodied, not as smooth and creamy as I'd like
O: very drinkable and great flavors, despite lacking some smooth oat character

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Photo of Domingo
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Jet black with a decent sized khaki head off of a normal pour. The head dies down to more of a white layer within a minute or two.
Texture looks pretty thick as it’s a slow pour and the liquid coats the glass.
The nose is roasty and semi-sweet. Baker’s chocolate and mild coffee.
Dark chocolate hits the palate first, and it’s not overly sweet. That creamy texture is all-encompassing and brings on a slightly bitter and acidic hit from the roasted malts. There’s a hint of sweetness on the back end that lingers.
This is about as easy drinking as they come. More depth than some, but nothing mind blowing or unusual.
A good oatmeal stout that’s clearly leaning in the roasted malt direction, but has enough sweetness to keep your palate from getting bored.
Tasty and enjoyable.

 788 characters

Photo of Rayek
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Merlin pours pitch black, with a small cream cap. The head quickly falls to a patchy film and leaves bits of lace.

The beer starts out with a espresso like coffee and chocolate mix. A mild burnt bitterness follows. It finishes slightly acidic, with lingering burnt malt flavors. The body is dry and too tingly for my tastes.

A decent stout overall. Not the most complex example of the style, but pleasant enough.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to drummrboy22 for sending this one as an extra.

A: pours deep dark brown with white-ish brown head, not much retention, no lacing, opaque

S: nose is chock full of roasted barley with chocolate and coffee around the edges

T: tastes starts off with bold malts and a touch of sweetness, this develops into an increasingly roasted profile and a finish of all roasted barley. This brew elevates the specialty malts very well.

MF: smooth creamy texture, slightly high carbonation

O: this is a great Oatmeal stout. Very representative of the style, I love the use of roasted barley and chocolate malt, the flavors really stand out.

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Photo of alli4051
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a nonic

Pours a deep, dark, brown, almost black with a smallish brown head. Head disappears quickly with minmal lacing. Nose is roasty with some subtle coffee notes. Taste is equally roasty with some chocolate bitterness and tofee notes. Mouthfeel is a bit lighter than I prefer. Nice and "velvety" smooth (sorry, couldn't resist). A simple but delicious beer.

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Photo of Gatch
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the beer engine at Papago Brewing Co. in Scottsdale, AZ.

A - Slowly settles in a thick, tar black with a thin, smooth, beige head. Looks like the top of a latte in a coffee shop.

S - Heavy roasted malt in the nose with smoked and charred meat.

T - Tastes like a stout milkshake. Chocolate and roasted malt dominate. Not a lot of depth if you're looking for several characteristics to describe it. Seriously just like melted chocolate.

M - As you'd expect from a cask, it's extremely smooth. A sweet, chocolate aftertaste that lingers. You can taste and feel the difference between cask and draft. Two very different beers, in a good way. Velvet Merlin is one of the better oatmeal stouts in production. Plain and simple.

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Photo of weatherdog
4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Pours a deep black, mocha dense head dies down to a thin layer of bubbles. Minimal lacing.

The aroma is of grains. Like freshly mashed dark grains it's inviting and roasty but not over done with just a little back end sweetness and vanilla. Its simple and to the point.

Taste is just outstanding. Roasted barley in the forefront, a mild coffee bean flavor and then it finishes with just the smallest amount of plum fruit. The finish has a lingering bitter /roast that is welcomed. Mouthfeel is medium light but the oats give it a silky impression that makes it feel fuller bodied without knocking down the drinkability.

This is seriously a great beer. One of the best simple no frills stouts that I've ever had. Truely impressed.

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Photo of YourMomDrinksBud
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottled on 09/09/11.

A- Ink black pour with only the lightest highlights around the edges. One finger head fades fast giving way to a nice white cap.

S- Roasted malts, iced coffee, baker's chocolate. Hint of vanilla.

T- Tastes follows with coffee and chocolate battling it out for dominance. Very subtle oak vanilla note with a slight salinity. Well balanced.

M- Very smooth and easy drinking. On the lighter side of the style with a somewhat high level of carbonation.

O- Really enjoyed this one. I'll continue to seek it out while it's in season.

 591 characters

Photo of Mississipping
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown that settles to an almost complete black with just a hint of ruby highlights when held to light.  A one-finger caramel-color head rises and falls quickly leaving a patchy film and thin ring behind.  Very modest legs and lacing on the edges of the glass. 

S: Chocolatey, slightly smokey, and oats with a touch of maple and raisin.  Nicely balanced and a pretty nice complexity that is really refreshing.

T: Starts out with some slightly bitter chocolate, hops, and a touch of coffee.  The bitterness is not very strong and is quite pleasant on the palate.  It transitions to a sweeter chocolatey flavor with some sweet dark fruit.  Finishes between the two with a great balance on the finish. 

M: Medium-bodied with a pretty good level of carbonation.  Starts out slightly bitter and ends a little on the sweeter side.  Nice transition from start to finish, with a touch of drying at the end. No hint of the modest amount of booze.  A nice little oatmeal stout. 

D: I really enjoyed this for a year-round stout that isn't barrel-aged.  Tasty and complex enough with a good balance and nice finish.  I wish I could get this on a regular basis. 

 1,183 characters

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours dark brown with a finger of tan head. After a few minutes the head is a fairly thick ring on top of the beer. Good for the style.

S: A mixture of roast, milk chocolate, and very light hops. Nothing overpowering and in very good balance.

T: A significant roast character with milk chocolate and light hop bitterness on the background. Extremely drinkable.

M: Full bodied with good carbonation.

O: Fairly straightforward, very well balanced, a great oatmeal stout.

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Photo of chugalug06
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Delicious. Nice off-white thick foamy head. Brew is black, very black. Nice lacing with good head buildability when swirled.

S - Oatey. Some small chocolate. Mildly smokey and heavily roasted. Some nice coffee scents too.

T - Very nice! Smooth as a baby.... Some gentle milk chocolate, nothing heavy. This brew is quite good.

M - Gentle on the tongue. Above average carbonation, dry and well-rounded.

O - What a great brew! I'm glad I picked this one up! Highly recommended.

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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 StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

true to its name, this one if velvet and smooth, pours dark, smells boozy and roasty. mellow looking, with a one inch white head which only resides a little as it warms. taste is bold but mellow at the same time, burnt and bittersweet in the finish, october-like in the body, just right. like this one a lot better than their double jack, curious to try more beers from this crew...

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Photo of Brad007
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade from dimce.

Velvet Merlin pours a pitch black with a nice, thick head into my glass.

Aromas consist of roasted malt with a touch of coffee and a creamy, silky texture.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the lingering silky texture courtesy of the oatmeal.It cradles the tongue.

A decent oatmeal stout. It hasn't broken any new ground though for the style.

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Photo of hoppyweasel311
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Dark black color with tan head that doesn't last long.
Aroma- roasted malts, coffee, cocoa nibs
taste- Coffee bitterness, cocoa powder, dark roasted malts
mouthfeel- smooth and creamy... low carbonation.
This oatmeal stout is decent.. but I'm more partial to Mendocino Brewing co. oatmeal stout.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Staid pitch black and luminous brown undertones with a finger thick creamy tan head.

Smell: Oat, chocolate, blueberry, cafe espresso and chocolate moose. Slight bitterness

Taste: British hops, earthy and herbal. Granite charcoal malts. Coffee. Sweet fruit. Blackberry. Dry charcoal malt finish.

Mouthfeel: Beautifully balanced, smooth and tasty treat. Full flavored and not too heavy. Medium malt texture. Savory.

Overall: A great beer for the price. You can pick this one up on sale seasonally at Trader Joe's. About a $1.20 a beer. Drinkable. I only wish it was available year round.

 601 characters

Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wowsers! An unexpected treat, a gift from my son.

Big yellow-tan head, fades and leaves lovely lacing.

Smell is rich, chocolate, sweet. Mmmm.

Taste follows the smell: delightfully sweet-dry, with notes of dark fruits in the background. Limited hop presence. Nice bitter-burned malt.

Super easy to drink and extra smooth. Not as thick as I might wish.

Give it a try. Worth it.

ColoradoBobs

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Photo of RocPorterFanatic
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Pitasoup for this bottle.

A - Deep, dark brow, almost black. Thick, creamy head, leaving almost no lacing down the glass.

S - Subtle hint of coffee and dutch cocoa. Very malty aroma, you can almost smell the mash.

T - Very dry. Roasty malts quickly sweetened by the oatmeal, taking the rough edge off. Subtle flavors here, ever so slightly tannic. Could use a touch more oatmeal to mute this.

M - Absolutely perfect for the beer. Creamy, with enough carbonation to keep it interesting.

O - Great beer!! This has been a top want for quite some time, and it didn't disappoint. Just a great beer.

 609 characters

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.
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