Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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89
very good
688 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:
688
Ratings:
3,050
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
9.8%
 
 
Wants:
231
Gots:
632
For Trade:
5
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 688 | Ratings: 3,050
Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Opaque dark-brown almost black, with a one-finger light brown creamy looking head which lasts a while. Lacing clings to glass and doesn’t want to give up.

S – Powerful aroma of roasted coffee beans, toffee, graham cracker, and a bit of beery, sweet malt. A chocolate chip cookie smell comes out as it warms. One of the best beers I have ever had the pleasure of smelling.

T – Toffee, milk chocolate, coffee, a touch of caramel, a hint of charcoal. Just enough hop to bring balance, not enough to make any hop character a noticeable standout. Alcohol surprisingly detectable at 5.5% ABV. (This is a good thing if you ask me)

M – Full bodied and chewy. Prickly carbonation helps with the drinkability.

O - Outstanding. A well-balanced oatmeal stout that just comes together perfectly. You can taste the effort that went into making this. My new go-to, non-imperial stout.

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Photo of jmasher85
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Possibly the most oatmeal-smelling oatmeal stout I've ever smelled. Smell is straight-up breakfast. I'm almost tempted to pour some molasses on this so it's just the way Mom used to make it when I was little. A hint of sour bread and yeast too. Taste is similar - lots of oatmeal in this, with a bit of bitter, burnt flavor. No chocolate and very little coffee flavor often associated with stouts. Texture is nice, if a hint thin, both on body and carbonation - I was surprised to see the head dissipate that fast. Overall, a nice brew and good rendition of the style, but certainly not a great one.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours the darkest shade of brown, with a disappointingly thin, tan, one finger head. Retention is fair.

S - Light roasted barley, faint cream and light coffee. Mild strength and generally appealing.

T - Medium roasted barley foundation opens to a sweet, creamy body. It's really simple; I actually don't get too many more notes off it. It's balanced extremely well, though, and plays well off of its simplicity.

M - Medium bodied, a bit coarse and a bit off an odd dry finish. I don't mind it but could be more smooth.

D - Not a bad beer overall, but doesn't have a whole lot going for it.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
3.15/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Thick and dark brown with minimal head and some slight lacing.

S: Getting some coffee flavoring, and Molasses.

T:Taste like a weak stout, or perhaps even a porter. Bold flavors fade quickly in the mouth. Oatmeal flavor comes in the finish, esp after a big swig.

M: Medium bodied

O: It's decent, I'm definitely a little disappointed as FS usually delivers. It's not bad but not great.

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

Appearance: Very dark brown, looks black unless it's held up to a light. Has a generous light beige head.

Smell: Chocolate and coffee/roasted malt aroma. Nice aroma.

Taste: Chocolate, roasted malts and a faint oaky tannic presence. The finish is clean.

Mouth-feel: Light to medium bodied with a fair level of carbonation appropriate tor the style.

Overall: One of those beers that's tastes good, is priced well, and is reasonably accessible.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

They claim at their website this is no longer available...Guess I'm getting some of the last bottles, eh? While watching the SF Giants throw away the first game of the 2010 WS, this is filling my soon to be empty glass...

Pours a very dark, near-opaque, reddish brown/black. No real head, no real lacing. Nose is super-roasty with cocoa-nib or, more accurately, like a Newman's Own Espresso Chocolate bar...Almost a smokiness waaay in the background. The name is apt, as the flavor is velvety smooth. Very robust roasted malt character, but lacking the tangy bitterness of many oatmeal stouts. This replaces the tanginess with a smoky roasted component. I like...Mikey would also like it...Heck, everyone would like it. Except maybe Mila Kunis - she strikes me as someone who WOULDN'T like oatmeal stouts...She seems more of a Chelada drinker...in any event the flavor profile is unique for a robust oatmeal stout...I'm loving the seamless evolution from robust roasty to smooth chocolate covered espresso bean (we're talkin' 75% cocoa though...No milk chocolaty sweetness at all), and from there into the long, dry finish that only imparts a wisp of hops. Good beer. At $9.99 a six-pak it's well-priced, but apparently you shouldn't ba able to find any, even though I bought this yesterday...

What I like most: The price and unique flavor profile.

What I like least: the lack of a decent head.

Verdict: Apart from a minor flaw or two, very good and worth tracking down if you can.

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Photo of Labeorphile
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass after taking form the fridge and letting warm for a half hour. Dark brown, but not black with a thick tan head that is fizzy with small bubbles. Maybe a bit too fizzy for a stout.

Aroma is malt and oatmeal, but not overwhelmingly strong.

Really enjoy the flavor. Dark chocolate and oatmeal, typical oatmeal stout but well constructed. Good sweetness from the oatmeal as well. Not as complex as some other oatmeal stouts, however. Mouth is a little thin as expected from the fizzy head. Would love this to be a little thicker and creamier.

A great tasting beer, but a little light for an oatmeal stout.

Follow up: This beer gets better the longer it sits. I would advise pouring it and just letting it sit. Then, just when you are ready to drink it, let it sit a little longer. It becomes more flavorful and a little smoother as it warms.

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black like a tar moat with some nice tan one finger fluffies...Sweet cocoa and brown sugar dominate the nose a nice light roasty aroma. Smooth slippery slightly sweet and very roasty, chocolate malts, and and caramel work their way to the front. Creamy light body is easy to put down, feelings of a much larger body is due to the heavy small bubble carbonation.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Cordova Casino in Rancho Cordova. It accompanied one of the shittiest meals I've had in eons, a nasty-ass chicken fettucine alfredo. I should have my head examined for having a stout with white sauce, but the mismatch isn't responsible for the Boyardee impression of the noodles. Anyway, this review is not about the noodles, it's about the beer. And what a beer it turned out to be. One of the best oatmeal stouts I've had. Roasty and subtle vanilla flavors, with a fantabulous sureally smooth consistency. Much better than FW's porter. Really makes me want to try Parabola.

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is a dark brown, almost black, oatmeal stout with a barely existent white head. A very strong roasted malt taste dominates with very subtle oatmeal and chocolate flavors in the background. I feel like oatmeal stout is a bit of a misnomer here since there is much of a creamy oatmeal flavor here. It’s kind of plain really and isn’t as heavy or rich as most stouts. It’s also quite dry for a stout. Alcohol percentage is also kind of low at 5.5%. There are only a few stouts that I can say I’ve hated and this isn’t one of them, but it’s definitely underwhelming.

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Photo of output01x
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Bottled On 01/09/12) into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a 2-finger tan-mocha head that slowly fades after a few minutes to a thick, clumpy dusting and thick foam ring. The body is a deep, dark brown with traces of ruby when held to light. Thick lacing clings to glass between sips but always seems to fall back down, leaving a rather clean glass at the end.

Dark, roasted malts give notes of ground coffee beans, dark chocolate, chocolate milk, and burnt caramel. While pretty standard for the style, it is enjoyable and welcoming.

The beginning of each sip starts out with flavors of dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. As the beer is swirled in the mouth, flavors of milk chocolate and milk caramel become more obvious. Swallowing the beer releases flavors of creamy coffee followed by more dark chocolate. As these flavors fade, a baker's chocolate bitterness lingers on the palate.

Medium bodied with great carbonation, this beer is silky smooth and easy-sipping. The body is a bit light but that does not seem to affect its ability to transfer flavors. This also helps to prevent the beer from being sticky or coating. The carbonation is a bit fizzy but does not seem to interfere with the experience and creates an excellent swallow.

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Photo of kflorence
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at BevMo! a week before Christmas; $7 for a sick pack (what a steal).

A: Pours an opaque, black with a nice frothy layer of tan foam. Not much lacing around the glass as you drink. When held up to a light, carbonation looks good. Looks inviting, if perhaps a little bit light as far as body goes.

S: As advertised, the roasted coffee comes through prominently. Also prominent are roasted malts, chocolate and some cloying caramel. The aroma suggests this beer will be very malty with some underlying sweetness and perhaps some astringency.

T: Wow, this one is truly roasted, almost overpoweringly so. Roasted malts and roasted coffee dominate the flavor; hops are rather subdued, almost indistinguishable. Not much of the cloying sweetness that was detected in the aroma was present, but it is there right after the initial roasts hit the tongue, and right before the lingering barbecue flavor. A tad bit astringent, which I guess is to be expected from a highly prominent coffee presence. Oatmeal is strangely absent as well.

M: For an oatmeal stout, I would consider this medium bodied. I was hoping it would be a bit more on the creamy side, maybe even with some chewiness. Carbonation levels are perfect and it does have body, just expected it to be a bit thicker.

D: Overall this is a pleasant beer and I have absolutely no complaints for the price tag. This is a solid stout that's simplicity and body make it very easy to drink. That said, I think this brew was a little overly roasted for me which made it seem a bit imbalanced. It also had almost no detectable oatmeal flavors, was a bit astringent due to the coffee and was not as creamy as I expected. There are much better oatmeal stouts out there, but this one definitely was on the above average side. I wouldn't hesitate to drink it again, but I probably wouldn't seek it out.

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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 Ryan4120
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - deep black with a moderate light tan head
S - malty, earthy, with milt oatmeal notes
T - earth, roasted malt, notes of oatmeal
F - full body with mild carbonation
O - A decent oatmeal stout - I've had both from the bottle and on draught and I absolutely prefer the draught version as the head retention, feel, and aroma are more appealing

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Photo of cbarrett4
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with slight head fading rapidly to little or no lacing. Displays a great dark nose with lots of malts and roasted notes. Zesty yet rich on the palate, more dark flavors backing up the nose. In the mouth it is very effervescent and light, lacks stuffing. The finish is lingering, tart and slightly bitter but well integrated. For a stout, it is rather light but with good flavor and aromas.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
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

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks like I'm the first to review this from the bottle. Bottled 9/20/2010.

Poured into a pint glass. Pours dark brown with deep plum edging. A few fingers of cappuccino head recedes to a spotty cap with a wispy ring on the edges. No lacing evident.

There's some deep roasted coffee on the nose. Some sweet malts, vanilla, soy sauce, and a little prune make this smell oh so good!

Tons of coffee, bakers cocoa, and roasty goodness are the most prolific flavors on the palate. No harsh bitterness or acrid flavors rear their ugly heads. The sharp edges have been knocked off this and it is wonderfully round. I love this stuff!

Oatmeal stouts have wonderful mouthfeel when done right and this bad boy is no exception! Creamy and smooth, I really like this more and more with each passing bottle. For the record I went through 4 of these with ease.

All too easily, Velvet Merlin disappears faster than free corn bread at a hoe down! Highly recommended regardless, of the name, get some now!

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

Thanks to Snosage22 for the chance to taste this one. I've been intrigued with Firestone Walker, and happy to have the chance to review one of their beers. Bottle dated 2-24-11. Poured into my dfh snifter, pours a light bodied consistency, pitch black color, nice off white head emerges, but recedes quickly and completely. Smell- chocolate, with a watery but enjoyable light scent. Definitely smell the oatmeal here. Light scent of coffee grind. its faint, but its there. taste- nice milk chocolate, met with immediate nice carbonation, and there is the coffee grind in the back. Mouthfeel- its pretty light bodied for an oatmeal stout, but it works well with the tight carbonation. Drinkability- for a 5% beer, this one packs a ton of flavor and is really enjoyable.

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Photo of ISmith87
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - 3.75 - Pretty opaque brown/black beer with a minimal head that leaves a little lacing.

S - 4 - Pretty awesome smell with coffee and roasty notes. Maybe some chocolate in there too.

T - 4 - Taste is also a roasty/smokey coffee taste. Very nice.

M - 3.75 - Medium - thick mouthfeel. More thick than most oatmeal stouts. Alc covered. Aftertaste is roasty/coffee.

O - 3.75 - It's a good oatmeal stout. nothing I can complain about too much. If I could change it I'd want it a little bit stronger with a little thicker mouthfeel.

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

Pours very dark brown with an average amount of whitish head that is gone before you know it.

Roasted coffee is the dominant aroma, with some chocolate and oatmeal sourness in there.

Taste is similar, with more of the oatmeal malt going with the coffee well. Earthy, with some dirt in both nose and taste. Carbonation is minimal but adequate.

Very solid mouthfeel feeds into the great finish of the malty coffee. Drinkability is excellent. Very good oatmeal stout.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wooo this is a great stout! Black body with a thick head. Roasty, chocolately aroma and flavor. Ultra creamy, nay, velvety mouthfeel that just slides down your throat. This brewery is on the rise and for good reason. Every new brew from these guys gets me excited and they deliver a surprisingly large amount of the time.

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Photo of jellikit
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Bottle.
Appearance: dark, dark brown to black with a brownish, ruby hue when held to light. Clear. Thin head. Thin lacing that dissipates.
Smell: bread dough. Roasted cocoa nibs.
Taste: clean, slightly roasted, light coffee flavor.
Mouthfeel: medium-low carbonation. Medium to medium high body. Dry.
Overall: easy drinking stout. Balanced extremely well. Great gateway stout for non dark beer drinkers. Would buy again.

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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 t420o
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Six pack from Bevmo for 7.99

A- Dark brown but not opaque. Tan head that is only about one finger with an aggressive pour. Head dissapate quickly and leaves little lacing.

S- Smoked oats, chocolate, coffee

T- At first it is very light and a but acidic. After only a could sips that quickly fades away into a pretty good oatmeal stout, yet not the best I've had by a long shot. Smoked oats, coffee, chocolate, and some creay goodness in there.

M- At first kind of thin, but begins to feel creamier (sp?) as I keep sipping. Maybe a little too much carbonation until it settles a little

D- I'd say excellent drinability. The creamy taste and feeling is like a Guinness but with different flavors going on. I easily killed the six pack I had.

I wouldn't seek it out but if it is on tap or around the same price I got it for (7.99) I'd give it a try. Its a good beer but I'd expect a little more from FW.

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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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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,050 ratings.
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