Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Velvet MerlinVelvet Merlin

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

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.

Added by largadeer on 11-13-2008

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Reviews: 688 | Ratings: 3,050
Photo of josephandbrown
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12-oz pour into a shaker pint glass.

Velvet Merlin poured a dark brown color with significant head. I honestly expected the beer to be quite a bit darker; if you hold it to the light, you can almost see through it. The smell and taste are both pretty typical of an oatmeal stout- roasted malt and the oatmeal itself make up the majority of scent and flavor. It's a bit more carbonated than I expected as well, but that might be because it sat in a bottle shop for a while before consumption.

It's a fine beer, but a little lackluster compared to some of the other excellent beers that Firestone Walker makes.

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Photo of pinyin
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very happy that I found this fresh.

Bottled 10/6/15. Served in a 12 ounce snifter at 39F.

Six pack purchased in North Western NJ.

Typical stout coloring. Brownish black with a slight creamy whitish head.

Very nice aroma. I get coffee beans, chocolate malts, some flaked oats.

Excellent mouthfeel. This is where Velvet Merlin shines. Very nice texture and flavor balance. Not too hoppy, but just bitter enough to offset the coffee and chocolate undertones.

The best attribute of this stout is how closely it resembles Velvet Merkin. FYI, Velvet Merkin is a world class stout. One of my favorites.

Velvet Merlin has a lot of similar qualities to its bigger, more expensive brother. Unfortunately Merkin is a small batch and very limited availibility due to retail hoarding.

Velvet Merlin is a good, price consciouss alternative for us dolts who dont trade or dont have the ins with the distributors or local bottle shops to score some bombers of Merkin.

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Photo of dank203
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really satisfied with this one. great mouth feel for relatively low abv. roasty tones with soft fluffy oatmeal feel and light chocolate notes. slick, wet finish, good stuff in the morning

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Photo of SmashAdams
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Really nice stout. Super smooth and easy drinking and nice low abv. The smell is light toasty malts and oats with some chocolate. The taste is similar. I see why they call it velvet. yb

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Photo of smanson56
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

First time drinking this beer. Poured a dark black color with a thin light tan head. There is a grain smell to the nose not sure that it reminds me of oatmeal but an oat, earthy smell. The taste is mild with a very faint coffee flavor. The mouth feel to me is thin and perhaps a little over carbonated. In all not a bad beer I think for am oatmeal stout it is a solid choice.

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Photo of thefreakinjman
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz, Bottled 10/06/15, Enjoyed 11/05/15

A: Dark brown with small tan head

S: Roasted coffee, oats, hints of toast

T: Roasted malts, coffee and oats hit first then the roasted malts linger with a very slight bitter chocolate finish

M: Medium to full body, medium creamy

O: Had a nice roastiness, with more oat smell than taste. Very well balanced. The nice roasty, bitter cocoa finish encourages even more sips. A must try for oatmeal stout lovers.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look - An opaque black color, minimal head on this one
Smell - Roastiness, some coffee, oats, hints of chocolate
Taste - Roasted malts, some coffee, some chocolate, nutty, oats
Feel - A bit thin but very drinkable

Overall - A solid oatmeal stout!

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Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Well done I've always enjoyed this beer. The mouthfeel is rich the roasted malts invite the nose and the taste is smooth. A great go-to stout to keep on hand throughout the colder months.

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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 MacMalt
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter glass. The color is a deep, deep brown, almost opaque, with a fairly thin, cafe au lait colored head and lacing. While the smell is not strong, it is aromatic: oatmeal, chocolate, burnt coffee, and malt. The taste features the oats and coffee, along with some dark chocolate. It is quite dry with a touch of hops at the finish. For a stout, it's rather thin. It lacks the thick creaminess I really enjoy. It is only mildly carbonated. On the plus side, at only 5.5% ABV, it is extremely easy drinking for a stout. "Session stout" is somewhat of an oxymoron but this comes close. I'd like to try it on draught. Overall, it is a good example of an oatmeal stout. I'm looking forward to trying the velvet merkin.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color medium beige head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains coffee, oats, roasted malts, some chocolate and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of coffee, molasses and chocolate. Then some mild smokiness comes in along with toasted oats and a hearty malt character. The hops presence is very mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly bready.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is a bit dry and slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nonic pint, watching American Dad!

Appearance : Charleston chew colored chocolate body, 90% opaque, fluffy khaki head with lace receding from its initial 3 finger pour.

Smell : Dark spices, oats, cocoa malts, burnt pan brown sugar, fudge covered banana. Little to no hop aroma. Medium volume.

Taste : Definitely softer on the palate than other oatmeal stouts. It glides across the tongue with softened oats, vanilla, coffee bean, and roast cocoa malts. It's not really fabulous, but it's smooth.

Feel : Nice and creamy, just what an oatmeal stout should be. Very subdued, mild, muffled carbonation. Ends with a slight parch matched with a shot of skim milk density to hydrate it just a tad.

Overall : A nice oatmeal stout. Hard to beat the silk on this one. It's not mind blowing, but I wod drink it again.

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Photo of BbyDigital
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A lighter oatmeal stout with a little extra carbonation. Very drinkable and almost refreshing in a malty sweet kind of way. Loved the whole 6 pack and I'm thinking I'm buying a second relatively soon.

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Photo of Wes-Cat
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is my go-to oatmeal stout. The head isn't huge, it's sort of dark brown atop the black stout below that fades relatively fast. It smells like oatmeal stout. It tastes great, semi-sweet and coffee-y. The feel is different from many other stouts in that it isn't heavy, but also makes it feel much more accessible. It's a hot night, you're sitting at your desk, and you can reach for this over the really heavy beers. It's only 5.5 or 5.6%, but it tastes great. It's sort of session-y for a stout. Oh and on tap is even better.

Why did they change the label from the dope silver one? Bah.

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

Pours jet black with carmel head that quickly fades. Think carmel lacing that dissappears quickly. Smells of chocolate, carmel and oats. Very light body taste to this stout with alot of carbonation. Chocolate taste with light hits of carmel and coffee. Overall good taste. Its always nice to get your hands onto some limited release.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes, for a stout this is a little thin bodied but i dont get the harsh reviews based on that. I dont think that light body effects the beer too much, its still a nice smelling and great tasting beer, in fact it made a nice change to drink a stout that wasnt too cloying or heavy, meaning i could drink it on a warm day rather than having to wait til Winter. Regardless of the light body, its a tasty stout, sweet and obviously strong oatmeal flavour, i cant wait to try the Merkin.

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Photo of tmryan21
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle had about a year of age on it.

Look: Black with a small amount of tan head. Head disapated quickly.

Smell: A ton of chocolate. Notes of oats and coffee as well.

Taste: More chocolate. Small amount of coffee. Oak and oats too.

Feel: A little to thin for my liking. No booze at all. Pretty low carbonation.

Overall: A really good oatmeal stout. Extremely easy drinker.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a pitch black color with very minimal head with prominent carbonation, with light traces of cola color at the top of the beer
S: coffee, caramel, oats, dark chocolate, as the beer sits the oats become more prominent, even though this beer has a relatively low ABV give it time
T: cocoa powder, dark chocolate, oats
M: crisp but not in a good way
O: very delicious and quite enjoyable, my only complaint is that I wish that it could be thicker, I think it might be over attenuated, wish it could be more oily IMO. To me this would be a great first stout to try so if you are tentative about trying them and want an easy and very delicious beginners introduction, you could do a hell of a lot worse than this

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Photo of GarrettB
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Date unknown, but I've had this quite a lot over the years, and almost perfectly correlated to when it is in stock at Trader Joe's. They sell some good beer, but the Velvet Merlin is at the top of the list at each shopping trip. The color is, noticeably, dark, with a soft, foamy head. With a little alcohol you might try petting it, though that's not where the velvet hides. The aroma is pretty straight with a burnt charcoal smell, but the taste is where this sessionable treat sits. And when I say sessionable I don't mean that this is a low ABV beer. What I mean is that this is a drinkable brew with a normal ABV, but it's light, tasty and approachable. Over the course of a board game night you will sip this aggressively, and go through sone serious glass. Why? the flavor is dark and chocolatey, but perfectly battered, sweet and slightly burnt, like the interior of a pan of brownies. And the aftertaste is the final treat, saved for last. Deep, supple chocolate all the way to the bottom, and every molecule is worth considering. It's an awesome brew, not for it's depth, but the clear delivery of great flavor without excessive additions in any dimension.

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Photo of Dope
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

11/21/14 bottling date.

A: Nice black pour with a frothy light brown head. Retention is decent with some little smatterings of lacing here and there.

S: Nice roasty aroma with some obvious oatmeal graininess/sweetness. Light chocolate.

T: Yup. Nice smooth oatmeal stout. Lightly roasty up front and then the oatmeal kicks in. Smooth, creamy flavors from the oatmeal. Light cocoa and bitter coffee from the roasted malt. Good combination. Smooth and sweet.

M: Medium bodied, exceptionally smooth and creamy.

O: Pretty much perfect for an oatmeal stout. Light bitter roastiness with some nice coffee and chocolate. Oatmeal to smooth it out and sweeten it up. Super drinkable. SUPER drinkable. Cannot be overstated. Up there with Sam Smith for drinkable oatmeal stouts.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

32 oz growler, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color, with a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Wow! Very aromatic, with tons of earthy, rich roasted malt, imparting notes of freshly toasted dark bread, freshly ground espresso beans, a touch of smoke and tons of brown sugar. Delicious!

Taste: Just as delicious as the beer’s aroma! Tons of roasted malt up front, imparting flavors of toasted oats, a touch of coffee, lots of brown sugar and dark molasses-like sweetness, and a touch of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy and very, very smooth, as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 5.5%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is an excellent oatmeal stout! Tasty, smooth, very quaffable, and highly recommended!

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Photo of fscottkey
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.50] Beer is dark brown and forms a 1 1/2 finger head when poured. The head is a creamy tan color. The head dissipates pretty quickly. The bottle lists the ABV (5.5%) and REALLY clearly has a born on date (10/24/14)

S: [4.25] I get a crusty baguette smell. Then coffee and roasted malts. The nose is pretty strong. It filled the air when I cracked the bottle.

T: [3.50] The taste is subdued. I get roasted malts and maybe a hint of cocoa.

M: [3.25] A little thin and watery. The is a twang of carbonation. There are no lingering flavors.

O: [3.75] This is a decent stout. I didn't get the creamy feel I'd expect on an oatmeal stout. Blindfolded I'd call this a lower ABV porter. The beer is 7 months old - so it may have lost a little bit of character. That being said it still holds up. It is not my favorite in the style - but I'd drink more.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap Poured into tulip

Black liquid, one finger taupe foam cap

Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee

Taste of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate,

Slight coffee bitterness

Good beer

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

Appearance: Huge, coarse dark tan head crowns a body as black as night. The head retention is quite good, Thin, scattered lacing adorns the glass walls.

Aroma: Roasted malt utterly dominates the aroma, although cold coffee and some bitter cocoa are present as well.

Taste: Opens with roasted malt, cocoa, and bitter coffee. As the taste progresses, the roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee meld together, with the oatmeal serving to remove any harsh edges from the taste. Finishes with a long, lingering note of semi-sweet cocoa.

Mouth feel: Very soft and gracious on the palate, silky and smooth, with only a hint of carbonation, it is well-named.

Drinkability/notes: Very well-done, an illustration of what a skilled brewer can do with this style.

Presentation: Packaged in a short twelve-ounce brown glass bottle, sealed with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice. Production date, per the label, was '12/02/14 11:13'. Purchased on 04/24/2015 in Texas.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very watery mouthfeel, which seems to be an issue with certain FW beers. Has no real mouthfeel at all. Aroma is also pretty tame for a stout, you get some toasted malt, but like you were smelling the mash, again with lots of water. Flavor wise there isn't much happening outside your standard roasted malt. Very disappointing beer.

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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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