Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
89
very good
679 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:
679
Ratings:
3,032
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
9.8%
 
 
Wants:
232
Gots:
625
For Trade:
5
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 679 | Ratings: 3,032
Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours a black color with a two finger, beige head. Leaves minimal lacing but maintains a head for a time.

Aroma: It's sweet with a sort of charred toast, roasted grain aroma, with notes tobacco, vanilla wafers, dark chocolate and mild coffee.

Taste: Mellow. The flavor is soft and restrained, with notes of sweet tobacco, burnt toast, mild chocolate and acidic coffee on the finish. It's oddly crushable although, like I said, the flavor is a little timid. Nothing here is offensive to the palate however.

Feel: The mouthfeel is adequate for the style. Mid-heavy weight with low carbonation. The oats give it some much needed body and weight, yet it's still crisp at 5.5% abv.

Overall: Not my favorite oatmeal stout, but certainly not a bad one. I just wish it had more flavor. I can see this going well with a meal to slate your thirst and clean your palate. If you're looking for something thirst quenching you might really enjoy this stout.

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Photo of matcris
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A half finger of tan head that slowly fades to a ring on top of a black stout with ruby around the edges up to the light. Great carbonation when I rock the glass. Spotty lacing left behind. Aroma, oatmeal, coffee, chocolate, slight alcohol??
Flavor is Chocolate, minor coffee, oatmeal on the finish, no alcohol in the taste. Feel is pretty creamy, full carbonation, dry on finish. Reminds me slightly of Tallgrass Buffalo stout, but a little thicker. Not bad.

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

Bottle dated 10-5-16. DFH Tulip.

A: pours an opaque black with some carbonation barely visible at the edges. Two fingers of frothy light tan head. Exquisite lacing and good retention.

S: a salty and malty mix. Mild roast and not a whole lot of sweetness.

T: arrives with characteristic stout roastiness, turning into a malty and mild sweetness, like malted milk - not like a milkshake, but sweet in the way that some grains are sweet without having any sugar. Very little roast here, with only the slightest touch of bitterness at the end. Very dark malt driven; I have had porters and possibly brown ales more roasty and bitter than this - but that is not an insult.

M: solidly midweight, slightly slick but generally clean. Certainly on the lighter side for stouts.

O: I drank half of this before I notice that I had not yet finished the review. It is extremely drinkable. This is a stout for bringing to parties. A real crowd pleaser and good for sessioning, but perhaps not so good if you're only having one. This is very good beer, and is a perfect execution of the style, but is perhaps my least favorite offering I've had from F-W so far (which is still better than a lot of other beers).

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Photo of flgimp
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured very dark cloudy red brown with medium body Into frosted pilsner glass. Heavy active head lacing lasted through drinking. Medium carbonation. Nose is of roasted coffee and cocoa. First sip was smokey coffee and dark chocolate with just the right amount of bitterness follows with blend of roasted nutty bread, more cocoa and coffee notes. Very nice oatmeal stout that I will visit again when I find it.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a pitch black color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Roasted malts, dark fruits, and coffee make up the majority of the nose. Some light caramel in there as well

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the roast and dark fruits and goes into the coffee and light caramel sweetness. Bitterness from the coffee notes balance nicely with the sweetness. Finishes with lingering dark fruits and roast

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Fairly smooth

O: A nice, easy-drinking oatmeal stout with good complexity for the sub-6% abv. Perfect for fall/winter

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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 thebeers
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dated 10/12/16. Dark ruddy brown with two fingers of tan head that leaves thick lacing and lasts a good long while.

Big chocolate aroma with roasty notes behind, including coffee, chicory, wood and stale hops.

The roasty qualities really stand out up front in the taste, with the chocolate, coffee and wood present, but more muted. The backend is sort of shallow, with a pretty dry aftertaste.

The feel is somewhat on the thin side, too, with a touch of creaminess but relatively little heft.

Maybe I'm too used to imperial stouts these days, but this feels more like porter territory to me. I was expecting more body in an oatmeal stout, and more flavor, too. Not bad, but with all the competition out there, not one I'd come back to often. If you're into dry Irish stouts, this may be more in your wheelhouse.

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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 AZBeerDude72
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is a dark black with tan head and decent lacing. Smells of toasted oat, some coffee, and mild hoppy malt. Taste is very nice, full flavor of oat, coffee, malt, chocolate, and some burnt bread mixed in giving this a very well balanced feel. The finish is very clean and smooth, I really enjoyed this beer, would recommend to anyone and will drink again for sure, good job guys.

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

A very dark brown color with a small mocha head.
Aroma of chocolate and bread.
Mostly chocolate taste. Some oatmeal. A hint of coffee.
Medium-bodied, very pleasant to drink.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours near-black with a thin tan cap. Aroma is distinctly oat-forward with chocolate notes. Flavor is delicious, with roast coffee and chocolate dominating. Very smooth and drinkable. Clean finish. Excellent.

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

I find that this beer never has as nice and thick a head as I'd expect from an oatmeal stout. However the aroma, flavor and feel are all really nicely done. Its a very drinkable and enjoyable oatmeal stout. Lovely roasted malts and chocolate on the nose and flavor. Overall its a really nice beer.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Echo Tap and Grille. Pours an opaque, jet black hue with moderate frothing. Aroma reminiscent of mocha and dark espresso. Flavor dominated by strong toffee and cocoa notes. Dangerously drinkable. Recommended.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep black, with a tanned foam head, almost no retention. Aroma is of roasted barley, some bread and crackers. Taste is well balanced, rich, malty, a little bit acid but not aggresive. Very nice oatmeal stout indeed.

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Photo of russpowell
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on nitro last night. Creamy, a little cocoa that builds towards chocolatey as it warms, some coffee notes as well . Super drinkability, easily one of the best oatmeal stouts I've encountered.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear, dark brown with a fizzy tan two finger head that settles to a thin, soft blanket.

Surprised by mucho coffee aromas, with some oats, light roastiness, and walnut.

Nice, moderate roasty flavors come forward, with coffee and bitter chocolate, tamped down by a cola sweetness.

A bit thin, but Velvet Merlin makes up for it with good flavor and aroma.

 356 characters

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.

 579 characters

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 Whey2Hoppy
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours a very dark black color, especially for the ABV, with only slight red tinting at the edges of the glass. Poured with a one finger tan head initially, but it quickly dissipated into nothing.

S- Dark chocolate is the first, and strongest aroma present. This is followed by notes of coffee, slight caramel, licorice, and roasted malts.

T- Follows the nose, but there's more of the coffee present here than the chocolate. Slight bittersweet chocolate on the finish.

F- Aqueous body, not very thick at all. Little to medium carbonation.

O- Pretty good, comparable to the Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout. Neither are something that I would go out of my way to buy, but if I want a lower ABV stout, I would consider this in the future.

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Photo of Pencible
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured an opaque cola with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like dry cocoa powder and earthy roasted coffee with cream and a little copper.
T: It tasted like earthy roasted coffee and dry semi-sweet chocolate, with some sweet cream and bitter copper. It had a clean mild bitter aftertaste.
M: It was quite thick with moderate carbonation. Huge body.
D: This was a decent porter with basic scent and taste. The body was not fitting for the style, although I preferred this. It was easy to drink, but also hard to remember. Meh.

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Photo of razorsdescent
5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this on nitro and it was probably my favorite widely available nitro stout to date. It was incredible, showing pretty much every thing I look for in a nitro stout. Off nitro, the beer never really reaches its potential.

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Photo of mlockman
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Definitely very good, but not much here to make it stand out: good coffee and dark chocolate flavors, but not really anything to make me say, "wow, I should pick up a 6-pack of this"

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured very dark, with a thick long lasting head. Lots of great aroma of chocolate and coffee and malts. Taste was very strongly chocolate with nicely balanced malt and coffee. The finish was particularly pleasant, leaving a nice creamy expresso taste in your mouth. The body is just about perfect - not too heavy. Overall, a really good stout that I hope to enjoy many more times.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle into a glass.

Pours dark brown and produces a classic and wonderfully appealing tan head composed of compact foam which becomes more dense as it falls and laces quite well. Very nice presentation

The aroma has many layers, and is a step above the average stout. I have never felt that "coffee" or "chocolate" or any of their subcategories can quite capture the aroma of roasted unmalted barley and black patent malt. They are so present in this beer, and the "roast" spectrum includes a nice soft acidic fruitiness all the way to an almost smoky char.

The flavor isn't quite as rich as the aroma would indicate, but it is really nice. The hugely thick and soft mouthfeel actually strikes me first, and it sets a stunning stage for the dark malts to perform on. Once again (as in the nose) the flavors cover a broad spectrum of flavor which can be derived from different roasting process with barley. This is so well done.

Conclusion: This is the best American oatmeal stout I have tried to date (I have tried well over 500 beers thus far in my journey). Awesome job Firestone walker, the mouthfeel is actually "velvety". I don't get surprised like this very often anymore, it sure is fun to find an everyday beer this good.

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Photo of Zythophile
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle Date: 10/1/15
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Appearance is very dark brown, but I can detect the slightest amount of light through the glass.

Smell is like a nice, semi-sweet brownie. It's a toasted chocolate scent.

Taste is a more intense version of the smell. You know that taste of fresh-ish coffee that has set on the burner for a few minutes too long so it's slightly bitter, but it's still good? That's what's up front. Then eat a brownie. That's Velvet Merlin fer ya.

Feel is thin and slightly carbonated. Basically, I expect a little thicker for an oatmeal stout.

It ain't bad, but Firestone has better stuff, and there are better examples of this style.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,032 ratings.
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