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Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
89
very good
675 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:
675
Ratings:
3,002
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
233
Gots:
618
For Trade:
6
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 675 | Ratings: 3,002
Photo of washburnkid
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Davis Graduate. Reviewed from notes.

A: One finger of froth of tan head dissipates within a minute or so. The body is dark with rich brown edges in the light. Not much retention or lacing.
S: Aromas are lightly roasted coffee bean and sweet chocolate.
T: Flavors are light on the acidity (almost non-existent, really), and heavy on the sweet malt profile. Coffee and chocolate dominating, with very little bitterness to speak of.
M/D: Body is a little light on the palate but there's nice carbonation. Smooth as velvet but still a tad thin. Flavors are toned down...I wished so badly to just taste "more". But this beer was still enjoyable!

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Photo of chumba526
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It appears dark brown with a dark brown colored head.

It smells a bit coffee like; I get a mild chocolate smell and a bit of a vanilla like smell.

It tastes much like it smells. I get a roasted smooth coffee flavor. There is a bit of a vanilla like flavor and a bit of a nutty malt flavor as well. I get a bit of a smooth chocolate flavor.

It has a thick and smooth mouthfeel with moderate low carbonation.

The beer goes down smooth. I could drink a few of these stouts.

Overall a better than average example of the style.

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Photo of gandres
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured to goblet, bottled 11/21/2015
Appearance: dark brown to black, brown head, some lacing
Aroma: very good, toasted malts
Taste: very good, malty, chocolatey
Mouth feel: Creamy, fizzy
Overall" Very good beer, specially for the price
Drank March 7, 2016

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Photo of McStagger
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Big pour of dark...near opaque foamy goodness. Murky, very dark brown with a hint of garnet outline. Head is two fingers of beige. Retention is mediocre. Lacing is stellar.

S: Roasty notes of coffee, toffee, milk chocolate and roasted cacao. Bits of caramel sweetness peak through the nose as well.

T: Nice sweet chocolate and mocha intro transitions beautiful into awesome nuttiness and roastiness that is absolutely amazing. Seriously, like a perfect roasted civet coffee finish. Not at all hop bitter. The mild bitterness in this brew is directly tied into the roasted flavors coming from it.

M: Lacks that full mouthfeel in a stout. A tad on the thin side.

O: All over the board here on the notes. Definitely a great brew, don't get me wrong. And I payed 5 bucks for a six pack of it, so I am NOT complaining. I'd be really interested to see how this is on tap.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

black and beautiful, with a receding hairline. oatmeal is big, with some roast and tannins.
a quick bitter hop flavor accompanying the black malt burnt coffee flavor. oat sweetness and some chocolate to admonish the bitterness. the finish is long and sweet with waves of astringency.
glad to have this available in the bottle, one of the nicer oatmeal stouts.

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Photo of leantom
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to FW for brewing this. I finally found a stout that my Dad loves! He's a life-long European Pilsner drinker who typically prefers translucent yellow fizz water, but he agreed that this is a great beer. Here goes:

A: Splendid. Pours dark brown but with a massive tan head. Leaves a lot of lacing as well.

S: Not much on the oats and dark fruit; mostly chocolate and coffee. While there is some oatmeal in the background, the roasted notes predominate. I prefer these notes over the fruity ones in Russian Imperial stouts, but I was still somewhat surprised that the beer did not have a richer oatmeal character.

T: Good. Somewhat light, but it's still very tasteful and well-balanced. Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and some oatmeal at the back of the palate (but it's not very lingering). Again, not very robust, but it's still incredibly flavorful.

F: Only mediocre part of the beer. Somewhat light, especially when using other beers of the style as reference, but this is to be expected given the ABV.

O: Great beer. Thank you, FW!

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Photo of ThirstyBird
3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at Beachwood BBQ - from notes.
Appears opaque black. Cappuccino colored head that lasts.
Smells of Espresso and toasted malt.
Taste is of toasted/ burnt malt, licorice. A little chalky.
The mouthfeel on this beer is wonderful. So smooth, mildly carbonated. Medium body.
Nice sipper - one is enough - the bitter burnt flavor is intense.

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a willi becher glass.
Pours jet black with minimal caramel head.
Smells nice and roasty, touch of molasses.
Tastes soft and roasty. Not an overly complex beer though. Very light mouthfeel, very drinkable.
Overall a good beer, but I was expecting bigger and more complex flavors.

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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 whatthehull
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a New Belgium snifter

A - Mud meets tar, with a tan light and fluffy head, trace lacing

S - Toasty 'o so toastedness, burned oak, grains, malt and a bit of sweetness

T - Toasty everything and burned oak. Nice hop finish, a bit malty and lots of earth tons, most of which were toasted

M - Medium/Heavy, fluffy carbonated and bitter toasted finish

D - Because of all the toastedness, it is a bit hard to just session this beer. It tends to end up room temp before you're done

Final thought - Nice, toasty. This is a great stout, not the best, but great

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

Nitro version on tap

L: black with large brown head
S: chocolate and dark malt
T: mostly chocolate
F: very creamy, I know the nitro provided some of that. But it also was rather thin and very drinkable.

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Photo of kalosjakar
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Brown/black with a foamy light tan head.

Strong aroma of oats, light roasted malt, faint chocolate note.

Taste: roasted malt, a little bittering hops, oats, light mouthfeel.

Unimpressed by this. I almost drank my last of a six pack without rating because it was lackluster.

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Photo of Foyle
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic glass.
Appearance: pours a thin cream colored head which recedes quickly. Little or no lacing. Very dark reddish brown and opaque.
Aroma: pleasant aroma of coffee, caramel, chocolate and earthy hops.
Mouthfeel: medium to thick mouthfeel and creamy with dry and fairly bitter finish.
Flavor: chocolate and coffee along with caramel dominate the flavor, earthy hops add balance, the oats contribute a creamy aspect.
Overall: nicely crafted oatmeal stout. Well done.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look - An opaque black color, minimal head on this one
Smell - Roastiness, some coffee, oats, hints of chocolate
Taste - Roasted malts, some coffee, some chocolate, nutty, oats
Feel - A bit thin but very drinkable

Overall - A solid oatmeal stout!

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Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours black with a finger of tan head.

Smell: Bold iced coffee, roasted malt and chocolate.

Taste: Bold coffee, coffee, roasted malt and a nice vanilla taste in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely drink again. Firestone Walker continues to amaze me.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Pours seal brown with an ample head of khaki foam. Cola-like carbonation can be seen clinging to the bottom of the glass before ascending to the top, where it emits an audible effervescence. Aroma smells of dark chocolate, toffee, and oatmeal. The flavor is of roasted malt, mild toffee, some oats, and faint coffee and milk chocolate. Hop presence is negligible, if existent at all. Some mild coffee bitterness comes through in the finish, though.

The flavor profile is acceptable, if unremarkable. The problem lies in the exceedingly thin mouthfeel and excessive carbonation, both of which go contrary to everything I look for in a stout. It's almost like drinking a stout-flavored soft drink, and I say this as one who has great respect for Firestone Walker and had high expectations for this brew. It's drinkable, but far from what I was hoping for. Light and thin does not an oatmeal stout make...

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Photo of Philousa
2.85/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Imbibed on tap at Wine Affairs on 3/4/13.

Very dark, but a clear cola color against the light with a thin tan head with decent retention. Lots of chocolate in the nose with a slight roasted coffee tinge. Caramel also plays a vital role. Flavor is very chocolatey also, but dry like baker's chocolate, and bitter as well. Caramel and somewhat sweet like chocolate milk, this finishes with earthy hop bitterness. Feel is somewhat creamy (would like more cream) ad thin, finish is very dry. Interesting, but wouldn't buy a sixer. Then again, I'm not one to enjoy most oatmeal stouts. Could fit the profile better.

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Photo of suspect
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass. Thanks to crazydiamond42 for the hookup.

A: Dark mahogany color with really really light hues shining through. Aggressive pour leads to a big 2 finger tan head that lingers throughout the session.

S: Not a whole lot here. Not that I was expecting a ton. There was a bunch of subtle notes of toasted chocolate malts and some hops as well. Slight bitterness from a dark caffeinated beverage that's not soda.

T: Delicious. Wonderfully simple yet, I think, nicely complex. Lovely notes of coffee, cocoa, and toasted malts.

M: Creamy, delicious, amply carbonated, thick big bodied and wonderful.

O: A really excellent Oatmeal Stout. A really excellent beer.

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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.

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

Glass - Tulip

A - Nice dark black color with basically no transparency. It produced a 2-finger tan head that held decently. A bit of a ring held atop my beer but no lacing was left.

S - Rich roasted coffee notes and dark chocolate. A very rich malt aroma here, I can pick up soft leafy hop notes but that's about it. As it warmed a bit I got some toffee notes in there.

T - Upfront a get a bit of tartness that reminds me of the acidity in coffee. Flavors unfold to dark chocolate and very roasty coffee notes. It finishes with a bit of leafy hop flavors but mild, and lingering dark chocolate notes. Bitterness is very very mild here.

M - Soft crispness with a bit of a creamy feel and a lite-medium body.

O - Overall I really liked this beer. It reminded me of lots of other great oatmeal stouts Ive had in the past. I think I would have liked a creamy texture but that's just a picky thought I just had. Very very drinkable and a wonderful flavor profile. I'd definitely buy this one again and I recommend this fine brew to any stout and porter lover. Cheers!

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Photo of domtronzero
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear dark brown with ruby highlights at the edges. Big, average lasting mocha head. Little lacing.

S - Light dark sweet malts, little roast. Caramel. Light earthy hops.

F/M - Rich velvety smooth dark malts. Bready, toffee, caramel, little roast. Earthy/spicy hops with medium high bitterness. Clean, dry finish. Medium body with moderate carbonation.

D - Good. Clean, dry, full flavored and quite easy drinking.

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Photo of CasanovaCummins
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Just yum. Silky smooth chocolate coco puffs in liquid form.

This is an everyday kind of pour that you just don't get tired of. The dram you go back to again and again. Great texture. Great consistently deep flavors. Lots of warm darkness.

This is a jazzy Morgana King type of beer. Velvety and soft-spoken, yet deeply sexy. More to the traditional side. All polish and depth.

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Photo of jpmclaug
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Received this want in an extremely generous BIF box from domtronzero. Thank you!

A - Black body with a small off white head on top. A little brown on the edges when held up to the light but not much. Head is real small.

S - Light roast notes mixed with the smooth oatmeal smell typical of the style. Not especially pungent, a pretty standard aroma for the style.

T - Light roasted notes mingle with notes of dark chocolate and coffee. Real smooth flavor. Not too strong of a beer.

M - Goes down real easy. Smooth body typical of the style.

D - Pretty drinkable. This is a good beer and nails the style perfectly. That being said I prefer most other styles of stout over this one. I'm really glad I got to try this one though. I wouldn't mind drinking this again but I'm not gonna seek it out.

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

It pours a nice dark brown with hints of red in it. Once it's in the glass, however, it looks black, but thin in that you can see through it slightly.

The smell is very bread-like, with a little bit of coffee and sugary roasted malts.

The beer is very smooth, with a tiny bit of hop bitterness on the way down. A little bit of an alcohol tingle as the beer warms up, but ever so slight.

Overall, it is very medium bodied and pleasant. I like it. But not an exceptional stout by any means.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,002 ratings.
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