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Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
89
very good
674 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:
674
Ratings:
3,001
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
233
Gots:
617
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 674 | Ratings: 3,001
Photo of tillmac62
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

BOD 10/28/15. Pours black. Normal head volume, lacing and retention.

Light but very good nose of coffee, chocolate, roast and a bit of char over a slightly sweet malt base with subtle caramel notes.

Almost medium body with a bit of creaminess in addition to being smooth - a bit light for an oatmeal stout. World class carbonation with a burst of effervescence in the middle and a finely bubbled prickly finish.

The flavor profile is very good but falls short of outstanding due to low flavor intensity. The flavors of the nose all appear and do provide a tasty very well balanced experience. The base is mildly sweet, the middle mildly bitter (roast and hop) and the finish delivers the coffee notes.

 709 characters

Photo of Libeertarian
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From notes taken 03/12/16:

Dark brown and semi-clear capped with fine, foamy, creamy, golden-brown head, goes down fast at first but then film-forming. Legs don’t stick. Roast, toast, faint cocoa, toffee, and biscuit aromas, leather and light resin notes. Roasty-tasting, and what’s this? Dry grass. But also biscuits, toffee, light-smokey tartness. Soily, leathery, and tea-like hops and then some peppercorn retro-olfaction that is almost lost in the balance. Not as much dark fruit character as most of the of the Oatmeal Stout’s I’ve reviewed to date, and to be honest, I can’t say that makes this better or worse for it. Full-bodied, a little syrupy, creamy suds for the most part but slight prickling on the edges, but an otherwise velvety finish, with mild astringency.

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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

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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 breadwinner
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As big an FW fanboy as any, but this one just doesn't work for me, no matter how many times I go back to it. Well made, as to be expected, but the oats never contribute the expected feel to my palate, and there's a bit of tangy fruity note in there too. Which, I suppose, isn't really out of line with an English-style stout, so maybe that's what they were shooting for. Even the roast is just a bit too weak, wanting oomph, wanting something to fill this out and give it some character. It's easy drinking, for sure, but in this range I prefer something like Sierra Nevada Stout, whose body, even sans the oats, feels more befitting of a stout.

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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.

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

Black with dark brown edges when held to light. Light brown head that recedes to a ring, leaves a little lacing. The nose is primarily roast and dark chocolate, some sweet malt too. Taste has roasted malts, chocolate, and some coffee characteristics. The body is on the lighter end of full and carbonation is moderate. A balance, dry finish. A very nice oatmeal stout.

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Photo of Myotus
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 51°F from a 12oz bottle (bottled on 19Oct15) into a Spiegelau Stout glass. Consumed on 23Feb16.
LOOK: Pours with a half fingers worth of brown foam that dissipates into a quarter fingers worth of khaki foam within 45 seconds. Black in color with a ruby tint. Rising bubbles are moderate in quantity and small in size. Lacing is moderate in quantity and thin with a few areas of thickness.
SMELL: Mild aromas of sweet chocolate, coffee, and sweet oatmeal entangle with subtle aromas of bitter roasted malts, vanilla, molasses, figs, plums, and wood.
TASTE: Strong sweet chocolate and mild sweet oatmeal flavors first strike the palate. Mild coffee, bitter roasted malts, and wooden flavors immediately follow. Subtle vanilla flavors continue the taste symphony as oatmeal flavors grow slightly stronger. Subtle flavors of molasses, fig, plum, and smoked goodness (weren't detected in the smell) enter lastly as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: Full-bodied and subtly carbonated. Goes down smooth and creamy. Finishes with a subtle dryness.
NOTE: This was one of the most complex Oatmeal Stouts that I have ever had. I loved how it was more sweet than bitter as sometimes, these styles are too roasty for me. I look forward to being able to try the BA version of this one day.

 1,288 characters

Photo of agreenman19
3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L - pours a reddish black with a fluffy yummy-looking lacing. Mocha.

S - oats! Caramel malts, some rusty nail. Sweet dark fruits.

T - more of the same. A distinct red ale metallic taste. Roasted coffee, chocolate.

F - creamy oaty mouthfeel, but still feels a little thin. Refreshing and easy to drink.

O - solid oatmeal stout. Light and easy drinking.

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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 Jacobob10
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, dated 12/10/15.

Look: Deep brown color, small tan head with good retention, and sparse lacing on the glass.

Smell: Roasted malt with a bit of sweetness and fruitiness to it. Mild chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Roasted malt, coffee, milk chocolate, and dark fruits. The oats give it a subtle earthiness and a dry, bitter finish.

Feel: Medium-full bodied, smooth, and easy to drink.

A really nice oatmeal stout here. Fairly complex without being difficult to drink. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of rjd722
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Basically black with a thin one-finger tan foam head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing.

Aroma: Full of dark chocolate and light espresso. Also picking up some bread crust (the oats I'm sure) and raisins, pretty nice.

Taste: The bitter coffee hops and roasted malts hit at the end while the dark chocolate and oats lead up front. The oats also linger and compliment everything else.

Feel: Smooth and easy drinking, low carbonation and a mild roasted finish. Creamy up front and more dry towards the back.

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Photo of NiceTaps
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in a tulip glass.

The color is so deep dark brown that it's almost black. It sports a mocha colored head, 1/2F with a quick fade to a film. Minimal spot lacing, some carbonation pops through it's cap and around the perimeter.

Coffee, dark chocolate, dark roasted malt. Pleasant kiln dried and cut woodiness.

"Rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavor." Agreed, and roasted woody malt, I'd add.

Quite smooth. Not quite full bodied but carries the oatmeal sturdiness. Some hop and chocolate mix for a flavorful finish.

Enjoyable proof that that a good stout can carry a modest abv.

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Photo of JRed
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Darkest brown with creamed coffee head. Aroma of cocoa, light roast, earth, cinnamon. Tastes of cocoa, light roast, cinnamon, oatmeal. Light bodied with medium carbonation. Lacking body.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Pours black with tall, creamy, brown head and nice lacing. Aroma is of graham crackers, toasted malt, marshmallow, chocolate and some hops. Body is medium and smooth. Taste is of toasted malt, herbal hops, chocolate, brown sugar and dark fruit. Finish is long and bittersweet. Very good overall.

 314 characters

Photo of DudMan
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a tan one finger head with decent lacing. Smells of dark chocolate and coffee. Tastes of bitter coffee and dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is creamy, smooth and nicely carbonated. Good body for a 5.5% abv stout. I'll buy this again.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.73/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Look: Very dark; Not much head; Some light lacing apparent.

Smell: Espresso or coffee

Taste: Looking for a little sweetness, but it doesn't exist. Has more of
a tart upfront note that transitions into coffee bitterness at the close.
Goes down pretty smoothly.

Feel: Creamy; full

Overall: Not a fan. The opening volley of tart-sour that segueways
into a burnt-coffee bitterness is not an overly enjoyable experience
in my opinion. It was a smooth drinker however and I did finish.

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Photo of Crumb_Destiny
4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep in dank torch-lit cave
Far from pride of prancing knave
What would brew, but a quaff so dark
That sheaths the shine of pale lark?

That glosses the soul and softens the spirit,
Casts aside what lies nearest
For the utmost reaches and mossy peaks?
One with much to teach, if thou wilt hear it.

 297 characters

Photo of Johnnyvelvet
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nitro Tap @ Toronado. Black appearance with nice tan head. Aroma of mild roast and dark coffee. Flavor of coffee and cream. Light roastiness with little oatmeal present. Medium-full body that is very slick.

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Photo of CNoj012
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an opaque black with ruby highlights. There is a small cola like head that disappears immediately and leaves no sign of lacing. The smell is very nice. Robust chocolate and coffee dominate. The taste is similar, but more muted than the smell. The feel is where this beer really lacks. Light and watery. It seems to dillute the taste. Next to no carbonation either. Overall solid, but so many better options out there.

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Photo of delta490
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This pours a very deep brown, almost black, with a light tan head. Minimal retention around the outside and small amounts of soapy lacing. The aroma is light, mostly roasted malts with just a hint of chocolate. The taste is much the same and the body is lighter with just a hint of fizz.

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Photo of thepenguin
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a very dark brown, near black, with minimal head.

S: Roasty and toasty, you can definitely smell the oats with the toastiness. Some faint English variety hops. The smell on this beer isn’t particularly strong.

T: Very balanced and pretty mild on the roastiness: this could easily pass as a porter. Chocolately, toasty and nutty, and only moderately malty with a slight breadiness. Extremely drinkable with a toasty and moderately roasty finish.

F: Medium bodied with a silky but light mouthfeel and medium carbonation, perhaps a bit too than the style would warrant.

Overall: Solid, very drinkable oatmeal stout. The roastiness is incredibly mild though and the beer could pass as a lighter style. I would have liked the aroma to be a bit more pronounced, but otherwise this is a tasty dark beer that I wouldn’t mind tossing back a few of.

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Photo of Ksmoove27
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look - midnight oil with reddish tint...2 finger light chocolate head...keeps a circle ring throughout...no spider lacing

Smell - nice cocoa, espresso

Taste - a light toasted malt, chocolate and coffee follow through

Feel - a little light for my stout palate but smooth, medium bodied,

Overall - a little thin for my stout palate but good flavor in the cocoa and expresso

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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%.

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