Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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89
very good
665 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:
665
Ratings:
2,966
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
20.85%
 
 
Wants:
232
Gots:
599
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 665 | Ratings: 2,966
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.

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

Basically black with med-big tan head slowly shirnking to a foamy ring and some nice lace.

Aroma is rich coffee/mocha, roasted malt, dark, rich toast, hint of molasses-gingerbread, some fermented winey prune joining later.

Taste is nice, smooth & mellow but flavourful and balanced. It has fermented prunes, rasiiny bread up front with light oatmeal sourness behind, dry roastiness, hints of coffee and choclate, woody-peppery spicy light bitterness. It has a little complexity and good, solid depth of character, and is highly drinkable.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've never been able to get Velvet Merlin on the east coast. So, I was really excited to find it in Las Vegas. I thought that this would make for a very good choice for my 500th review. This review is taken from notes.

I got this at Todd English PUB in the Crystals. I recommend it for finding a lot of very good to great beers on tap. It is expensive, but almost everything is.

The bar served this beer in a chilled pint glass. I don't like the chilled glasses, but there was no frost on these. The coloring is as dark as midnight with minimal foarm.

You can smell coffee and peat off the top. I could also smell the fish behind me, but that didn't affect my review. I recommend the fish and chips here, but not the fish.

I taste lots of coffee and some decent brediness. There is also coffee from the roast. The aftertaste was very good as well.

I recommend this beer... if it is distributed to your area.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a deep ruby brown with a thin head. Smells of chocolate, raisins, and lightly burnt toast. Flavor is big on malts, dried fruits, medium roast coffee and chocolate malts. Fruity esters and earthy hops. Finishes really dry. Mouthfeel is fairly light and prickly. I expected fuller from an oatmeal stout. This is a really solid stout. If it were a little lighter in alcohol, I could session this. I love the dryness in this.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a fluted pint, revealing blackish opaque body under a finger of somewhat thick crema head. Looks ok for an oatmeal stout; I'd have thought with the viscosity there would be more staying power for the head. Creamy-looking regardless. Smells clean and roasty with a nice dark malt presence. Some charred wood, slight milky sweetness.

Tastes light and clean with the signature touch of oat-y sweetness. Nice and roasted up front, fresh watery finish. Some slight bitterness with a roasted character. Very well-rounded for a plain oatmeal stout. Mouthfeel is that oatmeal creaminess with a carbonation that is a little too small-nucleating and tingly to add much to the body. Very drinkable otherwise, almost session-able.

Overall I quite like it. Maybe not my favorite oatmeal stout, but it is certainly an upstanding offering of the style.

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Photo of matttttYCE
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan creamy head, a little less than a finger high. Pitch black color. Smell is really nice. Milk chocolates, roasty and burnt malts, oats, coffee, molasses, hazelnut. Taste is along the same lines. Milk chocolate, roasted malts, oats, some lactose notes almost, light coffee, molasses, nut/hazelnut. Very drinkable, light but flavorful. Smooth and creamy consistency, light carbonation, medium body, and a nice light finish.

Overall great beer. Pleasantly flavorful and drinkable for being a lighter brew, especially at 5.5% Definitely one of the better oatmeal stouts. Must try, in my opinion.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Bottled 1/29/14. Thanks, Darren.

A: Cola brown with a tan half finger head that dissipates fast. Curtain-y lacing.

S: Dark Chocolate, coffee, molasses. Burnt sugar.

T: Follows nose, oh, so nicely! Robust, full-bodied, smokey, toasty, sweet. A terrific concoction of chocolate, coffee and molasses. Smooth and decadent.

M: Medium with medium carbonation. Thick and chewy.

O: I wasn't sure if this one would hold up 9 months after being bottled. But it was killer. A magical brew that must be sought out like the Holy Grail.

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

We don't get Firestone Walker in New Mexico, so I had to pick this up in Arizona this past weekend (November 2013).

I poured the twelve ounce bottle into a stein.

A- The beer comes out dark black with hues of brown. It produces a healthy two fingers of head. The head is chewy-looking, frothy and has lots of bubbles. This beer looks tasty.

S- Dark, roasty malt, sweetness similar to honey,some oatmeal and grain.

T- The smokiness surprises me, as I hadn't detected this on the nose. It's pleasant and not overwhelming. There's plenty of dark malt, toffee and vanilla taste underneath the smoke. The oatmeal characteristics emerge towards the finish.

M- The beer is creamy and easy drinking. There's no hint of booziness.

O- A great beer and very accessibly priced. I'd gladly drink this all winter long.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A finger of tan head on a pitch black body.
The aroma is strong burnt malt.
The taste is roasted malt, a touch of chocolate and only the mildest bitterness at the end.
The texture is, well, velvety smooth with low carbonation.
The burnt malt dominates here, which I like. It's a top stout.

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

Dark brown body, lightening up around the edges. The head is minimal and doesn't last long.

The nose is abundant with coffee, roasted malt, and chocolate.

The taste is bitter coffee on both gbe front and bsck end, chocolate in the middle.

I was expecting the body to be a little softer considering its an oatmeal stout and the name. It's still smooth, but the carbonation is a little prickly.

A very solid stout. I especially appreciate the modest abv and robust flavor.

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

Poured from the bottle into my new Bruery glass.

Poured a dark black color with a tan head. Head vanished rather quick leaving some lacing.

Smells of roasted malts mostly, with a touch of vanilla and some cereal notes (think cheerios).

Taste is quite good, very balanced, slightly chocolately, slightly roasty. Not overly complex but certainly not boring.

Mouthfeel is a bit light. I like my oatmeal stouts to be a bit more thick and syrupy.

Overall a very drinkable stout, one that I will certainly seek out again. Quite tasty.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown almost black color with garnet highlights. Tight light brown head that leaves enough lacing.

Smells of deep roasted notes. Mostly a coffee smell with some brown sugar.

Tastes of the strong roasted malts. Coffee and semi-sweet chocolate come through. Brown sugar and caramel as well. Roasted bitterness adds on at the end. Oats are evident and add the typical smoothness.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

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

The Velvet Merlin poured a deep brown with ruby highlights with a slight tan but effervescent head. The aroma held chocolate and sweet malt roastiness. The flavor followed suit with chocolate, toasted malt and added hints of coffee. It left a slight bitterness on my palate between sips but the roasted chocolate quickly took center stage. The bubbly body was much lighter than the brews appearance and was light and lively. The Velvet Merlin was a top tier Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of BKBassist
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown/black with a surprisingly fast clearing head.

S - A hit of fresh roasted coffee, some minerally/grainy touches. A undercurrent of sweetness.

T - Initial hints of smoke and roast fade quickly to a full on sweet grain explosion. There is an almost savory/buttery/umami quality to the finish.

M - Perfect chewiness for the style, the viscosity brings to mind a higher ABV (which works for me, watery stouts be damned)

O - A very solid offering into a style that doesn't always bring too much excitement (minus the Imperial and BA versions). Very drinkable, with enough complexity to satisfy the connoisseur as well.

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

Consumed 12/17/08 at Blue Palms, Hollywood, CA.

Very dark brown beer with mahogany highlights. A fine tan foam head.

Sweet malts and a little smoke in the aroma.

A bit thinner than expected in the mouth.

Flavorful, this one. It starts with a dark roasted maltiness, vaguely sweet, then moves into the oatmeal. Also present are a pronounced chocolate (almost syrupy), a roasted nuttiness and some bitterness appearing on the palate after swallowing.

Evaporative flavor on the slightly dry finish. Not especially complex despite what is written, but very enjoyable to drink.

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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 Gosox8787
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. stubby bottle poured into a Dogfish Head snifter glass. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black, in color. A nice, two finger beige head and good retention.

Aroma: Coffee, milk chocolate, and a touch of caramel all in good balance. Nice combination of roasty and sweet.

Taste: A really nice, approachable flavor profile highlighted by nice coffee and chocolate notes. Again, the balance of sweetness from the caramel and chocolate pairs great with the coffee. Some small earthy hop notes underneath as well. Very well done and to style.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy. Coats the mouth nicely.

Overall, a really pleasant and balanced oatmeal stout. All the flavors are in good balance. A really nice oatmeal stout.

 769 characters

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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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 seedyone
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11/12/15 From bottle at home dated 10/01/15. As a huge FW fan, I'm sorry to say this was a disappointment. Lacked the body & smoothness noted in the on tap version. Big roasty maltiness but an edge that is right up there. Texture-wise I find it nearer a porter with bigger flavor.

02/27/14 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Very smooth as all oatmeal stouts seem to be.

Very little edge or bite in any area. Great texture and at only 5.5%, a very friendly brew. Too bad it's not more readily available here on the East Coast.

Firestone Walker never fails to impress.

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

Head dissipates immediately- color has a hint of ruby, like a chocolate cherry Dr. Pepper. I wish the smell had more oatmeal but the taste is very balanced. Not too malty, not too chocolatey, and the aftertaste is very pleasant. Chocolate and coffee linger for a while.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Picked up a six pack the other day while in San Diego to give it a try. Poured into a pint glass a dark brown color with a light tan head. Nice aroma in the nose of roasted coffee, slight chocolate, some vanilla, and a tad bit of leather. Nice and smooth medium mouthfeel. The creaminess of this is really its shining star, it just drinks so smooth for me. The flavors are a nice balance as well between sweet and roast bitterness. Starts with a nice sweetness of chocolate and vanilla that is nicely rounded out with some roast bitter flavors along with some subtle muted hops.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from HeadyHops81 (much thanks!!).

Poured out of 12 oz. bottle into my tulip.

A - Pours a deep black with a nice two inch tannish brown head. Trace of lacing left behind.

S - Oatmeal, coffee, dark chocolate. mocha. Just a bit sweet.

T - Very nice roasted oats flavor. Chocolate and coffee flavor much like the smell. Well balanced flavors. Has a touch of sweetness followed by a bitterness that is very subtle.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. It's just a bit thinner then I expected.

D - High. Very high. Nice stout. Cant go wrong here if you can find this one.

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a one finger, creamy, white/mocha head. Jet black color.

Aroma- Great aroma consisting of milk chocolate, bready/oats, and very faint roast notes. Smells like chocolate cake or pancakes.

Taste- From start to finish milk chocolate flavors are front and center alongside dry brown sugar bread flavors and dry oats which help clean the palate. Chocolate becomes less pronounced as it warms up oddly, but sweetness from the oats makes up for that slight loss.

Mouthfeel- Medium/full mouthfeel with chocolate malts coating the mouth and the oats providing a dry palate cleansing finish. Very smooth and easy to drink.

Overall- Amongst all the high abv stouts the lower abv stouts can be overlooked too frequently. However, Velvet Merlin is a great stout that does a few great things rather than a bunch of average things.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 665 ratings.
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