Velvet Merkin
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin
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English Oatmeal Stout
Ranked #8
Ranked #794
4.3 | pDev: 8.84%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin
Notes: Our decadent Oatmeal Stout lovingly aged in Bourbon barrels. Beautiful chocolate, espresso and vanilla-bourbon aromas hold your nose hostage. Rich dark chocolate truffle, bourbon and espresso create a dangerously smooth and incredibly drinkable barrel aged Oatmeal Stout. Hoarding tendencies may occur.
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Reviews: 443 | Ratings: 2,677 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of EnderFett11
3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured moderately hard from a bottle into a snifter glass, forming a couple fingers of tan head that slowly faded to heavy lacing. Smells pleasantly of bourbon, but not too strong. Taste isn't quite what I expected, oatmeal flavor is faintly in the background, but primarily a gentle bourbon flavor. Not really the best bourbon flavored stout though. Light to medium bodied with light carbonation. A tiny bit boozy, especially as it warms, but its only 8.5% for the 2017. Not my favorite, and not worth the cost.

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EnderFett11 from Virginia, Mar 25, 2020
Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head. Nice amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel and bourbon.

T - The taste is dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, caramel, vanilla and light bourbon.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - Solid lower ABV BBA stout.

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TreyIsWilson from Michigan, Mar 18, 2020
Photo of Lucular
3.83/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

5 oz pour on tap. Pours dark brown, not quite opaque. Aroma, taste, and mouthfeel all offer less than I had hoped for - not as much dark malts/chocolate/vanilla/viscosity as I was looking for. I've wanted to try this beer for several years and while it's a decent beer it is ultimately pretty disappointing.

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Lucular from Maryland, Feb 18, 2020
Photo of dbrauneis
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear jet black in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation rising along the edges of the glass and faint dark chestnut brown + dark cola brown colored highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy dark tan head that slowly reduces to a couple of medium sized patches of medium thick film surrounded by a large patch of very thin film covering a majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark + roasted malts with a moderate amount of caramel + oat malts and a light amount of caramel sweetness. Light aromas of chocolate malts and a coffee-like roastiness. Just shy of moderate aromas of vanilla + caramel + bourbon + toasted oak.

T: Upfront there are slightly stronger than moderate flavors of dark + roasted malts, moderate flavors of caramel + oat malts, and light flavors of coffee malts with a light amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of coffee. Moderate flavors of vanilla + caramel + bourbon along with light flavors of toasted oak. Light amounts of roasty bitterness in the finish which lingers.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol and a pleasantly smooth mouthfeel. Enjoyable and the barrel aging changes the oatmeal stout in a pleasantly successful way - adding in the caramel + vanilla.

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dbrauneis from North Carolina, Jan 08, 2020
Photo of MrOH
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2018 vintage
Black, tan head, no retention, beautiful lace
Raisins, roast, bourbon, vanilla in the nose
Flavor pretty much follows aroma, roast a bit subdued
Full, creamy, appropriately carbonated
Really good, but I can't help but think that you overpay for this beer

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MrOH from Maryland, Dec 28, 2019
Photo of Nass
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is motor oil black with a khaki colored head. The taste is a little bland compared to the parabola RIS. In addition to, i'm tasting some velvety creaminess, burnt sugar, vanilla, fire roasted marshmallow, caramel, char, a little dark chocolate, mild raisin & prune notes some bourbon especially as it warms up, & some oats, . In addition to, this beer leaves a nice lacing in the snifter glass. I agree with the body being in the medium range but this is one smooth oatmeal stout that gets better as it gets closer to room temperature. If you've not had this beer already & your a stout fan then you ought to go out & get you some. Cheers! A-

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Nass from Florida, Dec 25, 2019
Photo of DaveMaciolek21
3.52/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At first sip, this smooth, dark brown oatmeal stout attacked the palate with chocolate, vanilla, and expresso flavors--very exciting. The middle sips were less distinctive, the bourbon barrel aging providing the most impact. After that, this stout becomes very mild--pleasant, very drinkable with mellow chocolate flavors, but frankly, a little bland after the intriguing start.

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DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey, Dec 01, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 8/14/16; drank 5/23/17 @ the Yarchives.

Brown/black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice khaki head; minimal lace.

Oak, cream, mild milk chocolate & faint citrus notes in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Oak, cream & mild milk chocolate flavors up front; mild citrus bite on the finish. Whiskey heat emerged as this warmed.

This is never going to be my favorite beer, or even a beer I look forward to...but it's drinkable & far from offensive. I just think I'm done buying it.

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Nov 22, 2019
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass from a 2014 vintage bottle.

Appearance: Semi-thick, semi-thin dark brown body coming off with a tan head which initially rises roughly half a finger's length off the body.

Smell: light whiskey flavor on the nostrils with a dose warm caramel.

Taste: Light malty sweet molasses with hint of nuts and whiskey flavor.

Mouth: Thin body, but heavy full after flavor. Medium to heavy carbonation and lightly dry finish.

Overall: good brew. Different than what I was expecting. Always in a glass. Salud!

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BlurryVisi0n from New York, Aug 05, 2019
Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It is a delicious stout and not as heavy as some of the "big stouts" I've had lately.

Look: black with a two inch mocca colored head

Aroma: roasted oats, chocolate, coffee, bourbon

Taste: The flavor is roasted oats/malts, chocolate, coffee, and significant bourbon.

Body/Overall: silky/velvety, medium body, a bit thinner than expected

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Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
3.69/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Merkin May be at the lower end of the Firestone Walker barrel aging program for me, but just when I figure on not buying them again I try one, and relative to my recent dark brews, I rather enjoy it. It’s easy drinking and smooth like chocolate milk without the higher ABV of say CBS. Give it a try!

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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington, Jun 06, 2019
Photo of Wolvmar
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage. Poured into a tulip glass

Pour: deep brown. 1 finger head quickly morphs into a thick ring, some clouds and lots of bubble lacing.

Nose: toffee, some coffee, maybe a hint of dark fruit.

Taste: toffee, caramel, dark chocolate, biscuity malt, oats and slight oak.

Mouthfeel: fairly high carbonation, a little thinner than the look but exceptionally smooth. Lingers on the tongue. Really nice.

Overall: this is really good. Very drinkable, super smooth with good amount of complexity. Would absolutely buy again, if I get the chance!

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Wolvmar from Michigan, May 26, 2019
Photo of hman43
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: It pours very dark brown with a tan head. Head retention is moderately low.

Smell: There are roasted aromas with some light bourbon and oatmeal.

Flavor: The bourbon is more prominent with roast and coffee in the flavor. There is also a certain cream like flavor that is a bit sugary. There are moderate vanilla flavors in support with some dark fruits that are low.

Feel: It has a medium full body and a creamy texture. The carbonation is moderately high.

Overall: an excellent oatmeal stout with plenty of flavors working together and good balance.

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hman43 from North Carolina, Apr 22, 2019
Photo of LifesAnesthesia
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2018 bottle:
L - Deep opaque black with mahogany highlights around the edges with a medium tan head that dissipates somewhat quickly, but leaves behind a nice cap with a decent amount of lacing.
S - Rich chocolate, oats, and vanilla from the sweet bourbon
T - Rich chocolate/fudge and oats throughout with some roasted oats and espresso as well along with sweet, rich bourbon, vanilla, and oak.
F - Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation - smooth, silky
O - A really solid oatmeal stout that builds, if ever so slightly, on the original formula by adding the sweet bourbon, vanilla, and oak flavors.

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

What we have here is a 2018 Velvet Merkin- Looks jet black with a quickly receding mocha colored head,leaves lacing on Spieglau stout glass-Smell is intense cocoa nibs, vanilla,coffee,wet mud,coconut - Taste is quite delicious,-chocolate,toffee,vanilla swirl in your mouth like a creamy iced coffee. I can taste barrel aging (heavens hill),Feels right for this beer. It is sort of strange that the viscosity is so light bodied for a stout, I guess that falls in line with the disappointingly low ABV. This beer with barrel aging and the expertise behind it could have been a 12% at least . It is not an inexpensive beer, And costs more than a 4 pack of KBS if they sold it in a 4pack,( Only boxed singles) It is still delicious. Reminds me more of Porter because of the thin body and the ABV-

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Claude-Irishman from New Jersey, Apr 05, 2019
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, 2018 edition.
Dark brown colored body, with garnet and medium brown back lit highlights. One finger of light tan head with the first pour, which settles back to a bubbly cap. Each sip leaves behind a fair pattern of medium spots of lacing.
Aroma is rich with chocolate and vanilla, caramel, oats, and a whiff of bourbon barrel.
Taste is sweet chocolate and caramel, with some flavor of vanilla. The bourbon barrel is present but not strong, and this adds to the woody, oak, and vanilla tones. Chocolate oats linger into the after taste.
Mouth feel is medium, and the texture is smooth. Good carbonation.
This is a sweet treat of an oatmeal stout, and one that expresses several complementary flavors.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I've been patiently waiting for the right event. A significant snowstorm (another one this Feb) is hitting hard tonight, so tonight's the night.
Sam Adams glass. Oooo that aroma is rich and the bourbon is right there. Sweet and chocolate with hints of wood and vanilla, A really creamy head and dense as heck. Boy that is a dark body with only some hints of color on the edges.
Wow, there is a lot going on there. I'm gonna' let this warm up some more and then get back to it. I like the rich and creamy feel though (yet holds onto some thinness that is consistent for the size).
Bourbon is probably too strong as is the vanilla. I'd like stronger oatmeal stout presence. However, this is enjoyable. Feel is top notch. There is kind of a bready/earthy quality which adds complexity.

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garymuchow from Minnesota, Feb 24, 2019
Photo of beerbully
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2018 edition

L-Black as the Ace of Spades.........1/4 inch toffee head........lacing is moderate with less than moderate retention

S-Chocolate syrup, vanilla, brown sugar, espresso, caramel, cinnamon raisin oatmeal, faint bourbon barrel

T-An amalgam of flavors that closely follow the nose.........chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, root beer, slight bourbon, oak, caramel

F-Medium but a little thin for the style.........carbonation is moderate......

O- a bit thin for my taste.........bourbon barrel is present but not as pronounced as many others.......flavors are somewhat complex

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beerbully from New Jersey, Feb 02, 2019
Photo of beersampler6
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excellent oatmeal stout from a brewery that I'm trying to learn more about - from what I can gather, it turns out some excellent, highly-sought after aged beers. Pours a very deep, dark brown with some nice mild tan head and spotty lingering lacing. Smells of chocolate and oatmeal, some medium coffee, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar and faintly of bourbon and oak. Taste follows the nose, along with some malt and raisin. Smooth, moderately creamy, luscious mouthfeel that was a little sticky and thick. Good amount of carbonation. Really an enjoyable beer and definitely went down a lot quicker and smoother than I would have expected given its aging.

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beersampler6 from Michigan, Jan 31, 2019
Photo of dbl_delta
3.96/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2018 vintage into pint glass. pours a dark brown with a persistent light tan head. Initial impression is roasted malts, chocolate, a hint of vanilla, some oak and coffee, with a subtle bourbon presence. (Some of the BBA's are really over the top; this is more more restrained.) Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth but, frankly, rather thin for my tastes and for the style. Finish is smooth with just a hint of warming. OK but not spectacular.

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dbl_delta from Pennsylvania, Jan 17, 2019
Photo of silverblaze540
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Black with minimal brown creamy head; medium thickness.
S - Oatmeal; sweet and effervescent.
T - Buttery; oatmeal; malt; cherries; caramel
M - Medium body
O - A bit lighter than expected, but a pleasant taste

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Photo of Apellonious
4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle, 2018 version, poured into a tulip glass. Pitch black with a half finger of tan head that moves to a ring of lace immediately. Nose comes across as chocolate, vanilla, touches of faint bourbon and coffee. Very smooth in feel and taste. The taste starts of as mild roast and chocolate. Followed by a nut and esperesso taste. Carbonation is low. Overall, a well melded flavored stout.

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Apellonious from North Carolina, Jan 05, 2019
Photo of rex_4539
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark brown color, very thin brown head, amazing lacing, no visible carbonation.

S: Oats, oak, chocolate, alcohol. Wonderful.

T: Oats, oak, chocolate, alcohol. Smooth as silk. Incredible!

F: Medium bodied, easy to drink, full flavored, extremely smooth.

O: A world class stout. One of the best I ever had. Great beer for the first day of 2019!

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rex_4539 from Greece, Jan 01, 2019
Photo of Franziskaner
4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black in color with no light penetration. There’s a fingernail of beige halfway around the rim. There’s a faint wisp of it elsewhere on top. The aroma is of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and oatmeal. I’m tasting oatmeal, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon. The mouth is velvety smooth.

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Franziskaner from Missouri, Jan 01, 2019
Photo of colts9016
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer was calling my name. The beer is 45 degrees and served in a tulip glass. The pour on the beer produced a one finger head. The creamy ivory head has poor retention. The head dissipated quickly leaving no signs of it existences. The color of the beer is SRM 34 a dark brown color with mahogany hues. The beer is opaque with no other signs of life within.

The initial aromas in the beer are bourbon, cereal, and toffee. Next, I smell toasted malts, bread, wood, burnt sugar, molasses, caramel, alcohol, yeast, and earthiness.

The initial flavors in the beer are cereal, bourbon, oranges, toffee, char, and a touch of smokiness. Next, I taste bread, toasted malt, caramel, burnt sugar, alcohol, malty sweetness, yeast, and earthiness.

The mouthfeel of the beer is creamy and smooth.

The body of the beer is medium-plus, low carbonation, and a medium finish.

The beer generated mix feeling they are an astounding brewery with a deft hand at brewing beer produced a beer with little finesse. The barrel age on this beer is pathetic. The body of this oatmeal stout is weak it drinks more like a porter. I do get the bourbon barrel a the end. The beer left me frustrated.

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Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 2677 ratings