Velvet Merlin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
89
very good
686 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:
686
Ratings:
3,044
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
9.8%
 
 
Wants:
231
Gots:
631
For Trade:
5
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 686 | Ratings: 3,044
Photo of Giovacchini
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A- pitch black with a thin tan head that disapates.

S- toffee, roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, and raisins.

T- roasted malt, coffee, bread, chocolate, molasses, raisins, and toffee.

M- creamy mouthfeel with subtle carbonation. Alcohol brings a little warmth to the palate.

O- This is a decent beer. My first oatmeal stout I had was Samuel Smith's and this beer is very much comparable to it. It has a nice rich flavor and it's low alcohol makes it very drinkable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty good oatmeal stout. There don't seem to be a lot of them out there to try really. Nice toasted and malty smoked tones that stay consistent. Been a while since I've gotten a nose like this that I can remember. Smooth, well constructed, even. I like it.

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Photo of hopsolutely
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thoroughly enjoyed on tap and picked up a bottle at the brewery in November. An excellent American stout, although without the full-fledged creaminess found in some other oatmeal varietals.

Pours a dark, near-black amber with moderate coffee coloured head. Beautiful aroma of roasted dark malts has coffee, chocolate and some smokiness. The taste is well balanced and truly outstanding: a nice mix of caramelized sweetness with an underlying dry backbone and nicely bitter finish. Many layers of chocolate and espresso flavours, along with an assortment of with roasted and toasted malts.

Would highly recommend!

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Photo of larryi86
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated 2/17/2014 poured into a snifter

A- Black with a small two finger light tan head.

S- Dark chocolate, espresso/roasted coffee, very rich.

T- Lighter than the nose, some dark chocolate, roasted coffee, hints of piney hops, nice balance.

M- Smooth, light to medium body, creamy.

O- A very nice and enjoyable stout that is easy to drink.

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Photo of arizcards
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a sixer from Total Wine in late October for $8.49.

Beer poured black with a bubbly floating tan head.

Nose is sweet roasted malts and chocolate nibs.

Taste is a very nice blend of rosted malts, chocolate, with a well balanced dry hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, somewhat smooth but very satisfying.

Overall drinkability is very good. This is one of the best in class i have had this year. I hope to see more of it in the future!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an extra from Huadog (thanks Russ!). It pours a dark reddish brown, not quite opaque, with a few fingers of tan foam that settle to a stable ring. The aroma is nice, lots of roasted malt and maybe a hint of bourbon? Really rich smelling, especially as it warms.

It tastes sweet, malty sweet up front with a lingering bitterness that seems to be related to roast more than hops. No discernable bourbon in the taste, just the smell. Creamy mouthfeel, this went down easily and quickly.

This was a fantastic oatmeal stout, a style I'm sort of neutral on. But I'd take it again any time.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet; received as an extra from the generous hamilton23. Thanks!

Mmm...Velvet Merlin and chocolate chip cookies.

Pours a thick pubic-hair black body with edges of 'Just for Men Brown' and a playful tuft of khaki bubbles on top. Really just a picture perfect aroma for the style, here: big roastiness balances with creamy oatmeal and chocolate. Earthy, fragrant, and nothing like a Merkin in terms of aroma. I should know--I'm wearing one.

Smuggled plums and other phallic dark fruits greet the palate with bold chocolates, black coffee, and roasted malt. A little creaminess from the oat, but acridity is the major player. Body is full and luscious for a 5.5% stout, ending well with a smooth, yet bitter roasted finish. Overall, a tasty beer with a funnier name from the good folks at Firestone. Strap one on and give it a try!

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Photo of billab914
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured dark brown in color with a frothy, creamy, tan head to it. The head faded to a thin, bubbly layer rather quickly, and clung to the edges of the glass.

The aroma shows some darker, bitter-sweet chocolate to it along with the creamy, oatmeal flavor. A little bit of vanilla and coffee peek through as well. Very nice aroma, the oats are well represented and very nice.

The taste starts off with some of the creamy oatmeal and sweeter chocolate flavors to it. Midway it starts to get a little roastier, with a little coffee like flavor to it. I get a little more of the bitter-sweet chocolate in the finish. Very nice flavors overall.

The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a very nice beer, It had some great flavors to it and was very easy drinking. The oats came through nicely and gave it a nice creamy and smooth mouthfeel. Very nice beer overall.

The taste

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Photo of Verecund
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Received as an extra from mrbubbler. Thanks!

Pours a char brown with some mahogany hues about the edges. Not much in the way of head on the first pour; a tan ring sits about the edges of the glass. The second pour is better, yielding a half-finger head, but it recedes fairly quickly.

Milk chocolate, some milky, lactic tones, toasty malts, and a caramel nuttiness. Nice depth to it, though there's a bit much in the way of lactic milk creaminess.

Great balance here. Toasty, biscuit maltiness, a light, sweet coffee note (like coffee with cream), some milk chocolate. A nice oat graininess helps round this out.

Medium-bodied, with just-under medium carbonation. As with most oatmeal stouts, it's fairly creamy and full in the mouth.

A pretty nice example of the style, what I find distracting in the nose actually works on the palate - the lactic finish blends nicely with the light roasted malt notes. It goes down easily.

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Photo of trevorjn06
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown and is almost black when held up to the light. No head really, just a thin layer of tan foam.

Aroma is roasty and toasty with chocolate, espresso, some fruits (plums and cherries) and light caramel.

Taste fairly smooth with caramels, rich chocolate and some coffee. There is a smooth, nutty oat flavor through the middle of this stout, it makes it very drinkable an delicious. The finish is sweet caramels, chocolate and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth feel to it and medium/low carbonation.

Overall a very smooth and drinkable stout with nice chocolate and malt flavors, I would drink this again.

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Photo of SanFranJake
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really liked this beer. Poured into a plain ass snifter and was great!
Beer buying (not yet drinking) a lot of their beer lately (five XVI's, Parabola and DDBA's as I find) and had to try.
Pours a deep dark brown with great head that slowly dissipates.
Usual aromas of coffee and chocolate as expected but suprisingly drinkable and not the least bit filling as I expect a stout to be.
Great aftertaste and overall, if I'm looking for a drinkable stout that isnt barrel aged or fancy, I think I've found it.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a near black with a hint of auburn brown peeking through where light can penetrate. Head is tan, powder snow fluffy and 2 fingers thick, good retention and a decent lace.

Smell - Potent oatmeal stout aromas here: Classic, roasty chocolate and coffee.

Taste - Bold cocoa and roasty coffee malt backbone, complimented by a nice hoppy bitterness. Simple, but assertive.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body, smooth and velvety. Goes down easy, despite the big flavor.

Overall - First time having this beer, and it's my favorite Firestone brew to date. Classic oatmeal stout flavors, but big, bold and beautifully balanced. Definitely a future buy.

 664 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint

Appearance: Pretty dark, some light penetrates when held up, nice creamy tan head that does not live long but there is some incredible lacing.

Aroma: Roasted malts, chocolate, some coffee, no alcohol on the nose, nice roasted chocolate coffee aroma

Taste: Up front, roasted chocolate malts, some coffee notes, some bitterness and alcohol on the backend, dry finish, nice roasted aftertaste, very smooth flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy smooth mouthfeel, lots of carbonation, dry finish, very smooth, get a slight alcohol burn, but very slight.

Overall: I'm a huge oatmeal stout fan and this has to be one of my favorites. It has it all, smooth roasted, chocolate, coffee flavors, smooth creamy mouthfeel, most of all is the roasted malt flavors and aromas that stand out, great oatmeal stout and one of my winter favorites.

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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 Beerenauslese
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the San Francisco Beer Week Gala

Body is dark brown with a bit of transparency at the edge. Head dissipates quickly to a ring.

Aroma of dark malt, coffee, chocolate, and trace of bourbon.

Tastes pretty smooth. Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, with some bourbon in the finish.

Body is medium with a good level of carbonation, but has a more fizzy than creamy mouthfeel.

I felt this was a good drinkable brew. Pretty smooth with good integration of flavor and a sessionable ABV.

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Photo of match1112
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pitch black body. half inch of mocha colored head quickly settles to a thin ring with spotty lacing.

s: milk chocolate and roasted coffee.

t: sweet chocolate quickly takes a back seat to the roastieness with a touch of oat on the backend.

m: kinda thin body for a oatmeal stout, feels and tastes more like a milk stout. decent carbonation. creamy with a bitter dark chocolate finish.

o: good stout, but to me is more like a milk than a oatmeal. none the less still worth trying.

 485 characters

Photo of blindtiger24
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Opaque with slight carbonation. Mocha head dissipates quickly.

S: Coco nibs, toffee, dark roasted coffee, and malty sweetness.

T: Gingerbread, dark bitter chocolate, and toasted malt with a slightly sweet finish.

M: Good mouthfeel with a bit of bitter pucker from the bitterness and still some sweetness from the malt.

O: Good flavors with some complexity, but nothing that amazes. Easy to drink and tasty, but not a flavor explosion like many others in this spectrum.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look:
Very dark black (yeah black really is as dark as it gets). Only a 1-finger head. I expected a bit more. Head recedes, but it stays a tad bit foamy with a nice tan ring around the glass.

Smell:
Sweet rich and caramelly. Strong coffee, chocolate, charred oak, and tobacco. A slight plum/prune dark fruitiness.

Taste:
Some hop bitterness, but more bitterness from the charred grains that are in this one. All scents from the aroma are in there as flavor (coffee, chocolate, charred wood, tobacco). Slight fruitiness - rich dark fruit. Starts a bit sweet, gets really dry, then when all of that fades, you are left with a smoky campfire and coffee-mocha aftertaste.

Feel:
Medium - but on the fuller side - bodied. Seems pretty thin for the style.

Overall:
Really good beer. Very desserty beer. Quite complex really. Many flavors and woody flavored. I am not sure if this one was barrel aged - I don't see any mention of it, but it tastes like it has absorbed flavor from charred oak somewhere. It could be just the heavily roasted dark grains. Very good. Firestone Walker doesn't disappoint.

 1,114 characters

Photo of Overlord
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been looking forward to trying this for quite some time.

Pours black with dark brown edging and a two inch tan head. Smells like bitter roastiness, some oatmeal, but it's a fairly muted nose.

Taste is much more robust. A tad bit of vanilla, a bit of chocolate, but mostly a big bitter (hopped??) roasty coffee-ish oatmeal. MMMM... Reminded me a bit of Cadillac Mountain Stout for some reason. The oatmeal is nicely integrated and isn't overpowering.

A bit thin of a mouthfeel.

Good beer.

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Photo of dcook11
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pencil thin head with minimal lacing . Coca-cola like look with medium carbonation. The beer itself is stout dark with a tinge of red around the edges. The smell is of chocolate, roasted malt, sweet malt, and vanilla. The taste is heavy on the coffee and chocolate excluding the vanilla almost completly. Mouthfeel is light bodied and drinkability is high.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a growler with my roommate, JustinA1, last week. The following review is based on notes taken at that time.

Poured (repeatedly) into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: A thick, light brown, layer of foam sits atop a pitch black body. Head shows excellent retention and drags thick, clumpy lacing. Light barely penetrates the outermost edges when directly back-lit; I'm willing to call this one opaque.

Smell: Oats, wholegrain bread, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee. A touch of salt also appears in deeper whiffs. Although this version doesn't smell as complex as previous experiences, it boasts a hearty grainy/bready character that softens up the heavy roast aromas. I dig.

Taste: Dark chocolate, oats, wholegrain bread, coffee, roasted malt, and caramel. Very smooth and balanced; harmonious. Alcohol creeps in just a bit as it warms. Roast and oat flavors cling to the palate deep into the aftertaste. Well done.

Mouthfeel: Creamier and more full-bodied than most oatmeal stouts. Very smooth and soft with fine carbonation; velvety, as implied by the name. Long-lasting and enjoyable aftertaste.

Overall: Very tasty, smooth, and balanced - an excellent example of the style!

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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 stakem
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew appears dark brown with a finger of brown head that quickly recedes to a thin lace across the top. When held to the light, this brew displays some lighter brown and deep ruby clarity through the body.

The aroma of this brew is a pleasant roasty scent reminiscent of coffee mixed with dark chocolate-like grains. The grain scent of this brew is very fresh and enjoyable which imparts a light sweetness through the nose. Once the brew warms up there is a light citrus hop indication in the back.

The taste of this brew is roasty grain that imparts a light sweetness through the body. It leaves a lingering taste similar to fresh coffee and light semi bitter chocolate. As this brew warms it picks up a light citrus hop influence.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. The oats in this brew imparts a silky smooth feel in the mouth which is exceptional for the style. The alcohol is perfectly hidden and overall this is a fine example of the style.

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Photo of Ethanol4one
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Froth fell flat soon after the pour, leaving a dark stout with a slight amber glow.
Aroma was well tuned, perfectly hopped.
Tasted overwhelmingly a dark roasted coffee and cocao without a lot of bitter hop aftertaste.
The texture was smooth, but not as thick as it could have been for a stout in the 5% range.

Overall-- a great stout that's a little too high gravity and under carbonated (my huntch is that nitro could make this a crazy stout).

.

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Photo of TwoBeers
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Nice dark brown in color. Chocolaty head that settles quickly. Almost no lacing.

S: This beer smells great. Fantastic chocolate aroma, with a hint of cherries and maybe some fig. A nice malty, nutty aroma follows.

T: Almost as good as the nose, the taste follows a similar profile. Chocolate up front, nutty with a big malty, nutty finish. Was hoping more of the fruity smell would come through.

M: Like a stout should be. Thick and creamy. Little carbonation.

O: This is a very warming stout. Easy drinking and very enjoyable. Once again impressed by Firestone Walker.

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Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 3,044 ratings.
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