Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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very good
668 Reviews
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Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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:
668
Ratings:
2,972
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
232
Gots:
603
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 668 | Ratings: 2,972
Photo of Nerudamann
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look – dark brown with a light tan colored foam.

Smell – typical sweet, but dark roasted type of smell that you would get from any oatmeal stout.

Taste – more bitter than I would have expected from this type of brew, but the usual caramelized type of taste you would normally expect from a stout does come out, but more toward the middle. The bitterness looms in the beginning and end. The aftertaste feels a bit smoky.

Mouthfeel – not extremely so, but definitely more on the creamy side.

Overall – fairly interesting brew to think about while tasting, and a decent taste in and of itself.

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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 peacebone116
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at the brewery in Paso on 12/26/11; poured into tulip glasses.

A: Quickly fading khaki head that rests upon a deep dark brown body. There is considerable lacing on the legs and visible carbonation along all sides of the glass at the pour.

N: Rich coffee and chocolate.

T/M: Beer follows the nose with a wonderful roasty characteristic. There is a subtle tartness in the middle that compliments the malt's sweetness; this aspect, as it warms becomes complex and somewhat boozy. The body is light to medium, with an oily texture that coats the mouth with a wonderfully even bitterness. Even after three days in the growler, there is enough carbonation.

Overall, this is a wonderful stout. It is complex and tasty despite the fact that it is not imperialized, which seems to be a bit of a neglected concept.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.29/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours jet black with a light brown head. In the aroma, a light roast and a small sweetness. In the taste, sweet cocoa and a light roast. A smooth and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry cocoa in the aftertaste. A bit thin across the board, nothing really exciting, nice but boring.

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Photo of Mahlik
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A - Pours a dark brown with a two-finger off-white head. Head retention is better than average. Solid lacing covered the sides of the glass.

S - Nice blend of roasted malts, coffee and sweet chocolate. As simple as that.

T - Oats and roasted malts hit the palate, followed by bitter coffee notes. There's a grainy feel as well. It finishes with velvety milk chocolate that coats the back of the throat.

M - Creamy, velvety and smooth. Such a treat to drink. Medium body with a slightly viscous feel. Lower end of medium in terms of carbonation.

O - Pretty solid oatmeal stout. While I did enjoy Velvet Merkin much better, I still think this is a really good beer to pick up a sixer of. Nothing super complex or complicated but well balanced and tasty. I don't always need to be blown away by a beer. I sometimes just need a really good beer that I can enjoy a few off. This beer fits that.

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Photo of tvv375ia
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A-dark brown with some ruby around the edges with about a finger of head that faded to a nice cap

S-some roasted coffee with a little chocolate

T-much like the smell starts with some dark roast coffee and a little bit of chocolate

M- good carbonation with a nice medium body

O-really good glad I got the chance to try this one if I am ever somewhere they have this I will pick some up

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Photo of TheFlern
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Very dark brown, not black. Off white head. Dissipates to a thing head covering the surface. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Light burnt notes. Small amounts of roastiness. Light oat aroma. hearty

Taste: follows the nose, not as thick tasting as it smelling.

Mouthfeel: pretty average. good carbonation. slightly bitter from the malt.

Overall: this isn't bad but it isn't anything worth seeking out. If you haven't tried it and you want to give it a shot I wouldn't dissuade you but I wouldn't persuade you to try this beer over another oatmeal stout of the same quality and price. Meh.

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Photo of vicsju1991
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured 12 oz bottle into duvel snifter
A - poured dark black, solid two finger white head, good retention
S - sweet malts, coffee, chocolate
T - coffee, chocolate, sweet malts, follows the nose
M - the best mouth feel ever, so smooth and creamy and amazing
O - very amazingly drinkable beer, good taste, very good beer

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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 Heavenisbeer
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a little opaqueness on the edges, with a 2 cm head off an aggressive pour that is quickly gone, leaving murky puddles on the surface of the beer. Mid-level cascading lacing. Some visibly light carbonation.

S: Rich dark dark chocolate, with an relatively upfront touch of espresso. Some sweet tobacco and biscuity, bready notes, possibly from the oatmeal.

T: Not as complex as the nose. Tons of roasted malts, a sprinkling of hops, a coffee tease, and some unsweetened chocolate notes. Ends with a dry, malty finish.

M: The highlight for me. Coating and syrupy, with some mild carbonation to cut any cloying potential. No hint of alcohol.

Nothing spectacular here, but not a bad easy drinking oatmeal stout.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brought this back from the bay area. It’s one of my favorite stouts and I’m so glad I found it.

This poured a gorgeous jet black into my nonic with a wonderful three inch foam—the kind of pour they take photos of for magazines. (Or the kind of pour they should take pics of!) Yes, the foam dies down after a few minutes but it’s still a beauty.

This doesn’t have a big roasty aroma to it but it’s there, along with some coffee and cacoa . As with Firestone Walker’s DBA or anniversary beers it’s about balance and nuance.

The roast is the first thing I notice when I taste. Roasty, sweet, with cocoa nibs and espresso beans and a nicely warming body, smooth and delicious.

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Photo of ikantspel
3.27/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz served into a sam adams glass

Pours a dark coffee color with a small head. Small ammount of lacing

Heavy roasted malts, coffee beans, dark chocolate

Espresso flavor, black coffee, and roastiness

If anything i wish you could taste more alcohol. A bit too sweet.

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Photo of SirWilliam666
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, almost black brown. I tried to pour for head and only got about a 1/4 inch of slightly off white head. Smell is faintly of iced expresso. Nice coating roasted flavor. Easy drinking. A quality outmeal stout. I will be enjoying more of this in the future.

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Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with dark brown edges and a light brown head that is persistent. Smell and flavors are of roasted malt, a hint of burnt coffee, creamy oatmeal, rich milk, and decadent dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is surprisingly full for the ABV. Basically one of the all time great oatmeal stouts.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown almost black with no head at all. Some slight lacing down the glass.

Sharp roasted notes leap at the nose. A little bit of chocolate and earthiness as well.

Flavor follows the nose. Huge bitter roasted coffee maltiness with some chocolate background. Bold flavors.

Not quite as velvety as I'd like, but still very solid mouthfeel. Got a little creamier as it warmed.

Very tasty beer especially if you like lots of roastiness. One of the stronger roast presence in this style I've had.

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

Served in a mug, there's a short-statured and short-lived light, frothy head, off white. Color is a very dark brown.

Smells of sweet cocoa, and as it warms up some roasted malts begin to peak out a bit.

The taste surprised me: roasty roast roasty. Delicious coffee tones take the show, contrasting the subtlety in the nose. Man on man this is nice. This time the chocolate malt takes a back seat. A pleasant aftertaste lingers and makes me really eager to take the next sip.

Mouthfeel does this beer well. Not watered down, not overly thick for the style, just right. Feels nice the entire way down.

This is a great beer. I've been wanting to try this for a while now. I'm kind of perplexed by the sweet smell and roasted body makeup. At first whiff I was certain it was going to be on the sweet side. Not so fast, mister, this one's a winner.

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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 brotherloco
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle x2. Bottled 10/19/11. Served in a tapered 22oz glass.

Pours a deep dark brown, almost black. Over a finger of dark beige foam. Occasional bit of lacing.

Big aroma for a "small" beer. Toasted, smokey malts are right up front. Nice amount of sweetness blends with the grain reminding me of a bowl of sugar crisp cereal (and that's an *old* sense memory).

Flavor is quite similar to the nose, but has more of a semi-sweet bakers chocolate quality than I was expecting. Middle and finish are quite dry and reveal a respectable hop presence. Roasty hoppy bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

Both body and carbonation hit about medium. Goes down easy.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served into a N'ice Chouffe stem-goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are pretty high; I love stouts.

A: Pours a one finger head of good cream, good thickness, and pretty good retention - though the ABV is merely average. Colour is a nontransparent dark brown-black.

Sm: Chocolate, heavy oats, caramel, and light nuts. Very appealing. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Oats are dominant, with notes of chocolate, caramel, and light nuts atop. Complex and balanced. Quite nicely built. It's not layered, but it has a depth of flavour I don't usually experience in oatmeal stouts. Often, oats are there just to smooth things out, but here, they're a dominant flavour and it suits the profile quite nicely. Bravo.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but not too thick or thin. Suits the flavour quite well.

Dr: Very drinkable. I quite fancy it. I'd love to try this on draught. Quite a nice flavorful brew. Give her a spin, lads.

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Photo of gregb13
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark with minimal head; nice sticky lacing. Smells very strongly of coffee with some chocolate. Taste follows the nose, along with some added oaty character. Mouthfeel is medium and somewhat viscous. Overall this is excellent, better than others of the style (Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout comes to mind). Highly recommended.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

what a great, well-made beer. Partially aged in bourbon barrels, but this doesn't define the beer. So, it really still reviews as an oatmeal stout. The bourbon barrel adds some depth to the nose, and blends seamlessly in the flavor. There's some barrel char and sweetness in the finish. Maybe a little buttery, but this is all perfectly wedded to the yeast.

Velvet Merlin presents a black body with tan foam, and walnut wood highlights when back lit. The finish is so delicious, and long: Caramel and char take turns on the palate with ripe apple core in the retronasal. That's only part of the story. The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and like a stout-flavored chapstick on the lips. It's well carbonated, and the carbonation holds in this thick ass beer. This beer has back!

15% of the grist is oats! Sucking crawdad heads gives you the real mud bug experience; drinking Velvet Merlin is the real oatmeal stout experience. The oats are palpable in this velvet beer, and they're not polite. They are oily, thick, slightly astringent and grainy, and omnipresent here. Bring it on! This is one of those beers that make me say, hell yah, from recipe to regal pour.

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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 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 flagmantho
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep brown color, nearly black, with a ruby tinge when held up to the light. Head cascaded into a three-finger monstrosity of tan froth. Great.

Smell: rich, creamy, roasty aroma of chocolate and coffee. That's what I come to an oatmeal stout to get.

Taste: roasty chocolate flavor with a fair amount of astringent acidity; more than I like in an oatmeal stout. Finish is OK but, overall, the flavor is a bit milder than I'd have hoped.

Mouthfeel: bodaciously creamy, silky texture. Body is huge and, although the carbonation doesn't seem like a whole lot, it is more than enough to make this thing feel like a champion.

Overall: I like this beer. It has some flavor flaws which are rather minor, and its mouthfeel is awesome, even for a stout like this. Good stuff.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 11-21-11
*12ozer to Nonic – Best damn 6er out there!!!

A: Pours a really dark brown color with a thin rosewood edge to it. Tight half finger cap of a light brown sugar head that fizzed away quick just leaving some spotty lace. Although more aggressive pours have yielded much livelier head in my experience.

S: Smells of dark roasted grains. Some chocolate and that distinct earthy F-W oaky/wood note.

T: Taste is just an awesome blend of chocolate, toasted grains, and dry roast coffee flavors. A bit of earthy wood notes and some herbal/spice hops that provide a nice subdued bitter charge towards the end. Very light with just a touch of sweetness. Quite refreshing.

M: Super creamy mouthfeel. It is most excellent. Very light in body. A bit thin for a stout actually but then again this is only 5.5% ABV. Nice dry finish.

D: This is a great American Stout. Nice layers of chocolate and coffee with a lighter body provides for a fantastic session. Creamier texture provided by the oats. Perfect hoppy balance. A must try!

Excellent candidate for beer engine.

Superb balance. A perfect cozy beer for these colder months.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 2,972 ratings.
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