Velvet Merkin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
341 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin
BEER INFO

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

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by t0rin0 on 11-20-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
341
Ratings:
2,305
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
9.46%
 
 
Wants:
401
Gots:
1,001
For Trade:
134
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 341 | Ratings: 2,305
Photo of unitypunk
5/5  rDev +18.2%

Awesome Beer, pours dark, with a nice head smells like liquor, tastes like it minus the bite of alcohol super solid beer dont miss it! worth the price! 9$ 9oz was worth it!

 174 characters

Photo of CaliforniaJohnson
5/5  rDev +18.2%

poured into a tulip glass from a 650mL bottle.'
Pour Date: Nov 29, 2014

APPEARANCE
Jet black with brown hue. Head 1-inch, light-caramel brown. Head retention shows inhomogenious lacing with a ring around the surface. The low effervescence during the pour suggests a creamy beer.

SMELL
Vanilla, Irish creme, cocoa.

TASTE
Bright and lively grains really hit the roof of the mouth, quickly overcome by creamy, marshmallowy, chocolatey, smoky goodness. You can really taste the roasted grains with the aftertaste. The flavors really work in harmony on this one; the ABV is masked.

FEEL
Although the taste is very creamy, the feel isn't so cream-like; it's pretty bubbly and pleasant.

OVERALL
This beer has everything I look for in a stout -- every aspect lacks nothing.

 773 characters

Photo of jwhancher
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this beer on tap at Eulogy during Philly Beer Week. Met brewery owner David Walker, who mentioned that this beer will never be made again. Thus, I had at least 3 glasses of this (all served in a snifter).

Pours a jet black with nice little head that fades. Smells of chocolate & bourbon with a nice wood component to it. Tastes wonderful. Rich & creamy, it's like a beer and a desert all wrapped in one. I savored this one quite a bit and was blown away by the sheer awesomeness of a beer of this magnitude.

If you can find it, buy it and drink now!

 555 characters

Photo of woodyhardboner
5/5  rDev +18.2%

I took my 73 year old uncle Eddy to a doctors appointment in providence RI. It was a routine check up that told us everything was fine. SWEET. After learning this I axed him if he would enjoy a pint with me. His response was "hell yah". Since I was in Providence I took him to Julian's. A place that is known for it's draft selection. When I sat at the bar I noticed A Firestone Walker tap I hadn't seen before. I ordered one because that brewery has not let me down before. The Velvet Merkin was placed in front of me. Its blackness alone was intoxicating. The head was a thick brownish tan that stayed until the end. All I could smell was whiskey. This beer was everything I could hope for in a bourbon barrel stout. The vanilla was just right so it actually tasted like beer. the finish was to good to be true. I could have drank 10 of them but I had to drive my uncle home. Needless to say I enjoyed this fine brew to the fullest.

 938 characters

Photo of Hopinista
5/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber poured into a rastal snifter.

A: Black. Pours moderately thick, small tan head rises and dissipates quickly leaving spotty lacing.

S: Really strong bourbon aroma upfront, followed by some vanilla and roasty malts on the back, very pleasing aroma.

T: Bourbon upfront, but not in a hot, burn your mouth off kind of way, very pleasant oak flavor. Next is straight up milk chocolate, almost like a milkshake. Some bitter chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts on the back.

M: Thick, smooth, and extremely creamy. Very moderate carbonation, this beer is probably the easiest drinking 8.5% ABV out there.

O: There is absolutely nothing negative I can say about this beer. Up until I tried this Parabola was my favorite all time beer, and this has surpassed this. Everyone needs to seek this out and try it at least once.

 834 characters

Photo of scbeerman
4.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Simply put, one of the best beers I've had the pleasure of trying.
L: black with some brownish-ruby highlights; great clarity and solid head retention, though not outstanding in this latter regard. Still, very nice.
S: rich and decadent without excessive sweetness. Chocolate truffle, vanilla, bourbon, roastiness. Perfectly balanced
T: see smell - much the same, with everything in absolutely perfect balance. Complexity is great
F: smooth as silk, drinkable but refined. Medium bodied, which fits the beer overall very well. Oatmeal stouts are awesome. Wonderful creaminess.
Overall: one of my new favorites. Going to seek this out repeatedly in the future.

 659 characters

Photo of amart79
4.92/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Opaque black color with a pretty big brown tinted head that hangs around for a while.

S - toasty coffee beans, some vanilla and a good smell of malts. Awesome.

T - the taste just follows right where the smell left off. The toasted malt and coffee beans flow right into a little taste of vanilla that flows beautifully into a bourbon taste right at the end.

M - creamy lightly carbonated and incredibly smooth. Even with the small bourbon bite at the end, it goes down easy.

O - literally one of the best beers I've ever had. The velvet merlin was already great and the aging in bourbon barrels just enhances every aspect of it. I'd recommend it to anyone that's gonna be around the brewery since it's only on tap.

 724 characters

Photo of cde1218
4.9/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Wow.... I've read all of the reviews on here about poor mouth feel of this beer.... I truly disagree with all of those reviews. This beer is fantastic! I'm thoroughly impressed with the unique flavor profile... Great chocolate, malt, dark fruit etc. True.... It's no bourbon county in terms of mouth feel but truly a great drive king experience in terms of flavor. FBGM

 369 characters

Photo of jasonhostetler
4.89/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 into a snifter. All I can say is wow. Bourbon, chocolate and vanilla on the nose. Body is a bit more heavy than 2014 with the added milk stout. Finish is burnt marshmallow, subtle burn with no burn and coffee. Easily the best oatmeal stout I have ever had and up there with the best stouts I've ever had. If you can find it, buy it!!

 338 characters

Photo of Beer_Line
4.89/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 Bottle

Appearance: Dark with khaki head

Aroma: a little bourbon, chocolate and Malts or oats

Taste: Incredible. This years is really similar to KBS. Light bourbon up front with oaty chocolate taste following. and the dark chocolate lingers on palate after swallowing.

Mouthfeel: Ultra smooth, too smooth, good thing this is not 15% abv.

Overall: 2015 vintage has bumped this brew into the world class ranks for me (due to the addition of the milk stout to the formula). The addition of the milk stout smoothed the brew out and really bumped up the mouthfeel. So dang good.

 583 characters

Photo of TjMosby
4.83/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

22oz. bomber poured into snifter
Vintage 2015

Appearance - Thick black opaqueness with a slight reddish brown at the top.

Smell - A remarkably sweet bourbon. Chocolate, espresso, oak.

Taste - Chocolate cream and espresso. With a very impressive bourbon finish.

Feel - I think this is exactly what an oatmeal stout is supposed to be in texture. It balances nicely in the mouth and finishes even better.

Overall- If there is any bourbon aged stout that should be considered top class, it is without a doubt this one. It has an overwhelming bourbon scent that is slightly misleading in the incredibly smooth pour. Dangerously drinkable.

 644 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.82/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Sapsuckers, 2014 batch pours pitch black color with a small tan head that faded and left good spotty lacing. This brew's looks were fortunately the least impressive part, as it was all uphill from here.

Smells of ash, charred wood, burnt grains, coffee grinds, vanilla, burnt coffee, oak barrel, tree bark, cocoa powder, wheat bread toast, oatmeal and dark chocolate. Smells like bourbon barrel aged stout with a lot of char, grains and delicious chocolate. Pretty much the apex of an oatmeal stout.

This is an oatmeal stout on steroids, ridiculously flavorful and packed with oaky notes, earthy accents, and lots of chocolate and coffee. Taste shows off the burnt coffee, cocoa powder, light vanilla, charred wood, molasses, bakers chocolate, roasted malt, touches of syrup, tea leaf, light floral hops, tobacco, light booze which is a cross between rum and bourbon, toasted coconut and some toasted buttery wheat bread; it then trails off with more char and cocoa. As it warms the bourbon comes out and is so woody and oaky that it's like an actual bourbon with a lot of peat moss. Outstanding tasting, exceptional.

Mouthfeel is thin and smooth, but par for the course for the style; light to medium bodied with very little to no carbonation and the greatest if ease to drink. So smooth, so easy and so delicious, for a beer with this much flavor it should not be this easy to drink but it is. Overall an unbelievably great beer.

 1,445 characters

Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.81/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber poured into a Firetone glass.Smell is chocolate with a hint of vanilla and coffee in the background.Maybe a touch of coconut.Very nice and smooth stout.The taste is chocolate up front with vanilla and coffee in the background.Great mix of flavors.ABV is 8.5 but you can`t taste it until it warms up and then a hint of bourbon comes thru.This one is a must try for all stout fans.Even if stouts are not your favorite,try it it`s that good.

 451 characters

Photo of unclejazz
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have been looking forward to trying this ever since trying Velvet Merlin in December. Thank you goes to Brouwerij Lane for getting this and pouring me more than my share.

A-dark brown with a half inch head tan there is great lacing went along with a decent espresso like color.

S-solid bourbon with vanilla and earthy notes which all complemented the roast malt and oat base.

T-this delivers the goods, it is not at all boozy, but wonderful bourbon carmel favors that have wonderful oak undertones. This is an amazing accomplishment.

M-thick and definitely in the sipper category. Just a touch of heat from the bourbon left a great burn in the aftertaste. I could sip this for days, so rewarding.

O-I thought I might never try this but so glad I did. This is e future of beer, some day it will be bottled and I will be there. Fantastic!

 843 characters

Photo of 01001111
4.79/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: A dark but not opaque chestnut color with little-to-no head and some oil slick patterns.

S: Wood, roast, oats, vanilla, pipe tobacco, and a slight bourbon bite.

T: Chocolate, hazelnuts and walnuts, vanilla, a hint of coconut. The bourbon character comes through as it warms in the mouth. The finish is very bold and roasted; not bitter at all.

M: Velvety, but a bit thin with some syrupy character, more like a nut brown ale in body, but the robust flavor boosts the mouthfeel. The alcohol heat appears mostly in the back of the throat.

O: I'm quite impressed. Velvet Merlin is a great oatmeal stout but the other reviews had me worried about this one. While not the most amazing barrel-aged stout, this is an excellent brew.

 732 characters

Photo of Tristen84
4.79/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Firestone Walker is not capable of making a bad beer and in fact they only make good beers. If its a beer that is meant to be to style they will follow it to the T. If it is a hybrid they are willing to go nuts with it. Velvet Merkin has a good story behind it and is made with so much love and care you can taste it. I am overwhelmed by the thick dark toasted presence of this beer. Some toasted coconut is present with also a nice roasted tobacco. Some alcohol warmth but nothing as compared to their other specialty beers, This is the zenith that all beer should try to achieve. If have not had this yet, try and find a bottle to drink now and bottle to cellar.

 664 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
4.79/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

had this at an in store tasting yesterday at beer city and grabbed a few 16oz growler fills of it.

a - poured into a 6oz FW snifter. brew pours a shiny almost watery black with little to no head. has a barrel shine to it.

s - smell is phenomenal. just smells like a perfect oatmeal stout. great roasted malts and chocolate and coffee notes with a perfect balance of oats.

t - taste is just as amazing as the smell. a fantastic oatmeal stout with the wonderful barrel aging of firestone walker. it is really the perfect blend of oats, chocolate, roasted malts, some coffee and a nice barrel vibe.

m - this one is surprisingly thin. i'd want it to be more rich and creamy, but for the size of this beer, it is just surprising how watery it is.

o - overall, this should be bottled. it is as good if not better than parabola. firestone walker is an amazing brewery and this beer blew my mind (like many other firestone beers i've tried in the past). sad that i only have another 16oz of this beer and it needs to be consumed soon. worth seeking out if you like barrel aged brews, or FW, or just damn fine beer.

---edit 2012-03-24---
honestly, i'd say that i may have even rated this too low. what a f*ckin beer!

 1,213 characters

Photo of SaulFox
4.77/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage
Deep black, khaki head
Coffee, slight bourbon with signature woodiness
The taste is what makes this beer!
Vanilla, chocolate, molasses, coffee, bourbon.
Great mouthfeel despite lower alcohol content.
Just beautiful! Looking forward to popping this year's vintage....

 280 characters

Photo of Taylor_Madison
4.76/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Unique oatmeal stout with a strong outmeal influence that quickly dissipates with little aftertaste. I tasted more coffee than chocolate which differed from the other tasters I was with. Has a very smooth feel and a light nose that has a slight bourbon aroma. Super easy to drink!

 284 characters

Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.76/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Oh my goodness I could session this, but then I would be out of money. Rich, creamy, dark, and touch of sweetness spiked with a bit of bourbon like my morning coffee. Drink now or save just drink. No point trying to analyze this it's a world class beer you don't have to wait in line for.

 288 characters

Photo of JohnG190
4.76/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. Pours black as pitch with a huge, tan head that slowly dissipated into a nice cap. Dark chocolate and coffee on the nose with prominent vanilla and bourbon notes. Lots of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon on the tongue. Smooth, velvety mouth feel, medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, an extremely well crafted and balanced beer. In my opinion, Firestone Walker has the finest barrel aging program out there.

 437 characters

Photo of HopHunter19
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - dark brown black color with a nice mocha head that dissipates pretty quick and therefore doesn't leave much lacing
S - big mocha, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, roasted malts, chocolate.
T - same as smell, bourbon is nice but not overpowering, mocha caramel, vanilla roasted malts
M - thicker than you'd expect. Alc covered. Aftertaste is mocha and roasty malts.
O - great beer.

 380 characters

Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark brown, nearly totally black and opaque. Some light shines through around the edges. A tan head forms, but eventually settles and disappears entirely.

S: Notice the smell during the pour. Vanilla bourbon notes dominated the sweet aroma, with dark chocolate as well. A good nose.

T: This is where the beer shines, as it should. The vanilla bourbon blends with rich dark chocolate truffle, and a hint of velvety espresso rounds it out. This is a brilliant bourbon aged beer.

F: Velvety smooth, as the name implies. Medium-full body, slightly chewy mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

Overall: A fantastic oatmeal stout. Velvet Merlin is one of my all-time favorite oatmeal stouts and Velvet Merkin is now an all-time favorite of the BBA variety. Firestone, as usual, knocks it out of the park.

 796 characters

Photo of bcerv-ca
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Fluffy dark khaki head. Dark mahogany, cola body.

Bourbon barrel smell at the forefront. Powdery dark chocolate and mildly sweet dark fruit follows.

Light, almost watery, mouthfeel. Some might be turned off by such a light stout, but I think it works perfectly with this beer.

Fudge-chocolate, oaky taste. Slight maple or maybe molasses sweetness lingers. Hardly notice the alcohol. Very easy drinking stout (especially for being barrel-aged).

If you like stouts or barrel-aged beers, you need to try this. It's amazing.

 525 characters

Photo of MattLev
4.74/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours dark, almost black with a small non frothy head
S: Bourbon and Chocolate, with hints of hazelnut and coffee
T: Wonderful, very light for a barrel aged beer, though obviously not an imperial. Superbly balanced.
F: Smooth and rich, it goes down smooth.
O: A wonderful intro to a bourbon barrel aged stout that non cask lovers can also enjoy. Scary how easy it goes down.

 377 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.23 out of 5 based on 2,305 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!