Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
89
very good
674 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
674
Ratings:
3,001
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
233
Gots:
617
For Trade:
6
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 674 | Ratings: 3,001
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at Oliver's in Albany, NY.

Pours an opaque dark brown, almost black. One inch of mocha head forms, good lacing down the glass.

Smells like roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee.

Tastes strongly of roasted malt, with a silky smooth taste that signifies oats. Some bitter chocolate in there too, with a hint of coffee. Not very bitter.

Medium mouthfeel, silky smooth due to the rolled oats. Feels more full bodied than a 5.5% ABV beer would signify. Very drinkable.

A great beer from Firestone Walker that gets lost amongst their other bigger beers. Very sessionable, with tons of flavor.

 606 characters

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...

 851 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.

 426 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/3/2011

Drinking this beer in honor of my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope you appreciate what I'm doing for you. Poured into a snifter.

A: Deep brown with a creamy light brown head. Good retention.

S: Aroma shows a little coffee with a moderate roasted malt character. Nice soft oatmeal profile blends with chocolate and a mellow and well integrated bourbon element. There's a light biscuit note and a dash of nut character.

F: Flavor is dry with a blend of chocolate and coffee. Low level of earthy bitterness and a lower moderate roasted malt profile with a dash of toasted character. Bourbon is tame and goes very well with the chocolate and oatmeal. The balance of flavors is superb.

M: Excellent mouthfeel. Creamy and silky. Medium in body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A fantastic beer. Highly drinkable and enjoyable, and at a great price.

 874 characters

Photo of dar482
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On cask.

The beer hits of cocoa, light roasted malt, powdery chocolate and a creamy/almost lactose flavor. A good amount of flavor throughout of creamy chocolate and coffee, but in general a medium beer for the style.

 218 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours with a three finger light head that fades quickly to a ring leaving traces of lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Light coffee and chocolate nose and flavor is slightly sweet, malty chocolate. Bottled 10/19/2015, $2.35 for a 12oz bottle at Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH

 313 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours much lighter than I expected, more a deep brown than a brown-black, and still letting light pass through rather easily. Head is yellowish beige, large-bubbled and frothy where agitated, but otherwise forming a thin film. Pretty good static carbonation when tilted, but overall, it just doesn't win me with its look.

Nose is dry but pleasantly roasted, with grainy cereal notes and a hint of coconut. It's rather mild in aroma, but the characters it has are very pleasant.

Taste is similar, and it has a really nice smoothness on the back palate that melds with the dark grain notes to almost give the suggestion of chocolate, even though there's absolutely minimal sweetness. Finish is quite dry, and with that mealy cereal character that suggests you have another sip. It's light on the palate, really, but it's pretty drinkable.

Certainly something I'd happily drink again, and something with plenty of dry roasty character that is eminently sessionable. No bad at all.

 980 characters

Photo of corby112
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate brown color with faint mahogany edges and a pillowy two finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Larges streaks and chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Robust, roasted malt aroma that never becomes acrid or burnt. Slightly smokey with hints of toast, dark chocolate, coffee bean, caramel, toffee and of course, oatmeal. There's also a slight lactic cream presence adding complexity to the nose.

Chewy, full body with a deeply roasted dark malt character that's nicely countered by a subtle earthy hop presence. Very similar to the aroma with lots of roasted malt flavor that never becomes overpowering or burnt tasting. Strong dark chocolate, oatmeal and coffee bean presence along with some caramel, toffee and lactic cream. Very complex and even though it's full bodied, it's very well balanced resulting in an extremely quaffable beer.

 883 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a almost black body with khaki head that left some pace patches. Smell is of roasted and sweet malts, akin to some coffee and chocolate with possible nuts (hazel) or toffee, maybe caramel. The oatmeal is noticeable as it smoothes down a light bodied beer (light for a stout) and helps balance a light coffee/roasted malt edge with some minor chocolate and toffee like sweetness. Little bit of woodiness on this beer as well and at times there seems to be a boozy, dry finish.

 482 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

- duvel glass. Bot. 10.16.15. Consumed 12.12.15.

A: Dark cola pour sits a flat black in the vessel with a dark, creamy, walnut toned head of 0.5 inches. Thin, film lacing coats the glass well.

S: Beautiful freshly charred firewood, roasted oats, with a smokey chocolate finish of generally good proportions. Head retention is fair, lapsing to a whispy covering.

T: Beautiful smoky charred chocolate, firewood, and roasted oats, are, as the name suggests, velvety in nature. Smooth smoky pine bitterness, touches of burnt cookie dough sweetness, and chocolate licorice add highlights while finishing out with a smooth smokey charred finish.

M: Creamy mouthful, mid body offering, very smooth, velvety on the tongue, charred warmth lingers behind.

O: Overall a highly drinkable oatmeal stout, with a sooty, charred and a velvety nature. Drinks really big in nature for its modest abv%.

 893 characters

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

On tap at FW Taproom

Poured a deep brown almost black and it had a small white head. Nose had some hints of toffee, oatmeal and cocoa. Went down smooth and the ABV was around 5. Taste was smooth with not as much taste up front but through the middle and mouthfeel is where this beer is strongest i thought. Lots of smoothness, oats, cocoa, maybe a light coffee feel and creamy, roasted malts. Very smooth and highly drinkable. Best Oatmeal Stout I have had next to BORIS.

 472 characters

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

(Served in a snifter)
Bottled 12/04/12
A- This beer pours a get black body with a thin wisp of tan head and a glowing walnut brown hue at the base.

S- The inky black malt aroma has some earthy tar notes and a deep coffee hint comes through. There are some nice graham notes that come through as it warms

T- The big black earthy inky roasted malt has an almost smoky quality it is so dark and some slightly sweet malt finish that is pretty clean in the aftertaste.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a slippery texture and no alcohol heat noticed

O- This big black malt flavor is nice with some inky qualities but the finish and body really get thin a lot as it opens up and there isn’t much to support that big malt flavor. It would be nice to have some alcohol or hops or sweetness to finish what the flavor starts.

 817 characters

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

Served in Imperial pint. The beer poured black, with a thin tan head that had OK retention and lace.

The aroma was nicely roast malts and very well blended. The flavors were very similar, full, well-rounded malt and grain. The body was full, smooth and well-rounded. Drinkability was very good, I could easily have several of these.

Overall, a very good beer that borders on excellent. Worth seeking out.

 406 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Whole Foods Las Vegas for 1.99$

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a large size frothy light brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, oatmeal

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, coffee, chocolate, and oatmeal. There was also a touch of smoke and a bit of a cola flavour. It ends with a grainy chocolate aftertaste with a hint of lingering smoke.

Overall - The appearance of this beer once poured was really great. A beautiful fluffy/rocky/foamy head. Oh ya, it tasted pretty good too. Although there are better oatmeal stouts available to me locally.

 727 characters

Photo of Haybeerman
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep, dark brown; no light comes through. Poured a 2 finger tan head with good retention to a thick skim. Sticky webs of lacing on the glass.

S: Big, toasted malts; chocolate and bitter coffee. Earthy and rich.

T: Big toasted malts consistent with aroma; lots of coffee and chocolate. Lightly bitter finish that's nice and mild.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation. Rich and creamy feel that's really smooth.

O: Good malt character. Nice feel, nice finish. A little filing, ABV good for style.

 496 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A-Pours black. I'm not seeing much besides black I. The body. Head is initially a bigger, plop of doughy, tan foam. Then is settles down but it leaves thick lacing.

S-Sweet chocolate and cocoa. Oats and some roastiness. Even some dark fruitiness. I think the chocolate is nice; it's got some dark and milk chocolate notes.

T-Milk chocolate and light roast coffee and burnt oats. Good flavor but fairly tame. A little bit of cola. Some vanilla as well.

M-The flavor isn't as rich as some other Oatmeal Stouts but it's supremely drinkable. I will have no problem gulping through this six pack.

O/D-I have always wanted to try this beer. I was a bit disappointed, especially having Velvet Merkin first. It's a nice, very drinkable Oatmeal Stout. That's it, though.

 765 characters

Photo of barczar
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big cocoa and coffee presence in aroma. In flavor, coffee dominates, and there's a bit of a harsh bitterness. I'm not a huge coffee drinker, so I'd prefer more chocolate.

 170 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Ommegang stemmed glass. Label says 10/01/15.

A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/4 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and some sheer wisps of surface foam. Not-so-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Dark roasted malt with a bit of sweetness bringing notes of milk chocolate, mocha and a touch of caramel.

T- Flavor profile is nicely balanced between roasty bitterness, hop bitterness and a mild sweetness. Great interplay of coffee-like roast, dark chocolate and a slight nuttiness. Bit of char in the aftertaste.

M- Slightly creamy with medium carbonation and a full body.

O- A very tasty oatmeal stout that rides the line between sweet and roasty very well. Super drinkable, quite flavorful and just all-around yummy.

 825 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours very dark brown/black and leaves a creamy, one layer, toffee colored coating with a slightly thick lacing ring. Leaves a sticky coating on the glass that is more like a high alcohol beer. Impressive legs.

S - Dark chocolate roast, grainy, and light char.

T - Follows the nose with deep/dark chocolate roasted malt and a chocolate charcoal finish.

M - Light medium body and finishes a little watery.

O - A nice, session able stout.

 445 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Paid the price for this single, $3.50 at the house of 1,000 beers. Bottled 1/8/13 so its 5 months old.

A - A very good amount of head just a 1/4 inch from a soft pour that pulls back to a mocha lined lace ring that sticks around. Color is almost pitch black with a tiny bit of ruby hue at the base.
S - Very good roasty mixed with some chocolate malts and some oats. Smells a bit of smoke but not overwhelming
T - A very pronounced dark chocolate malt, borderline sweet but not overly so. Then a nice kiss of smokey ash and a finish of some mild coffee grounds. Damn tasty.
M - Medium bodied, very creamy and silky.

Overall I am impressed it drinks better than my all time favorite "Anderson Valley oatmeal stout" yet its around the same ABV. If I ever get the chance at a case I will be sure to pick it up.

 809 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown pour, mild tan head. Aroma was smooth, oats, brown malt, chocolate malt.

Real sturdy sipper, good heft, but not bulky. Good use of the oats. Roasty as Scorpion might say. Not bitter or astringent in any way, good non adjunct stouts still comin' on strong.

 273 characters

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 tigg924
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at New World Tavern.

Appearance: moderate carbonation, minimal head, clear, dark brown in color

Smell: roasted malt, toasted malt, and oats

Taste: oats, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. The milk chocolate is stronger than the dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: sweet with slight roasty bitterness, medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall: An excellent oatmeal stout. Nice and chewy with malty complexity. Great brew for a winter's day. I will look for this in bottles.

 481 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.57/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with thin white cap. Mild lacing noted on the glass.

Smell: Big time Oats and coffee. Toasty and roasty smell.

Taste: Mildly bitter coffee and mildly sweet chocolate notes. The oat is fairly strong and flavorful in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Disappointed here. Average at best. Way thinner than i expected and hoped for. Light end of a medium bodied stout and moderate carbonation.

Overall: better than average oatmeal stout, but I expected alot more from this brew.

 522 characters

Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, deep near black, moderate cap of grayish tinted tan froth. Scent is dark, roasty with some ash and char, notes of spent coffee grinds, bitter cocoa, some leafy hops thrown in and a touch of dark berries. Taste follows scent... dark and roasty, coffee, grains, cocoa, leafy hops, dark berry. Expected a bit more body and smoothness from style. Decent oatmeal stout, doesn't wow in any particular way.

 413 characters

Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,001 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe