Velvet Merkin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
2,428 Ratings
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Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin
BEER INFO

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

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
Ratings:
2,428
Reviews:
368
Avg:
4.23
pDev:
9.46%
 
 
Wants:
410
Gots:
1,057
For Trade:
138
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,428 |  Reviews: 368
Photo of ElGordito
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Rekrule
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Odysseyalien
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Jasonrm72
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of rxeight
3/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of Jr1982
3.06/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2015 bottling. 22 oz. bomber

When I open a bourbon barrel aged stout I expect something thick and juicy. I'm looking for a "meat and potatoes" beer that will stick to your ribs. Velvet merkin did not meet my expectations at all.

It pours a nice dark (though not as dark as you'd expect from a barrel aged stout) coffe brown with a weak head that dissipates about as quickly as any mass produced light beer. No lacing.

It has all the notes you'd expect in the aroma and flavor but they're weak and anemic. Slight hints of coffee, oak, bruised apple, and bourbon but not enough. Amazingly, the alcohol was very prominent, very surprising since it's 8.5 abv. The mouthfeel is thin and watery, like someone snuck in and stole a few drinks and topped the bottle off with tap water.

Not impressed with this beer at all. This isn't the first beer I've had from Firestone Walker but it's the first time I've been disappointed. Maybe next years batch will be better but at $16 a pop there's a chance I won't find out.

 1,012 characters

Photo of MatthewWalters
3.07/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Photo of maxifunk777
3.1/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

After so many GREAT stouts during my first year of being a craft beer drinker. This is a good stout just not great or outstanding. Some what of a major let down considering it's Herald from such GREAT beers.

 209 characters

Photo of brystmar
3.22/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap for Barcade's 8th anniversary.

Dark brown pour, minimal tan head and lace. Traces of bourbon mix with the roasted malts for a pleasant aroma.

Gotta start by saying the body is unacceptably thin -- especially for an oatmeal stout. Roasty malts prevail in the flavor, somehow hiding most of the bourbon. Kinda watery throughout, but somehow finishes really strong with a bold rush of hazelnuts. Yum.

Pretty disappointing overall.

 437 characters

Photo of LloydDobler
3.22/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

2014 vintage / 22oz btl poured into stemless wine glass

Tons of foam on the pour that caught me a little off guard. Very thin without much distinguished taste at all. Straight watered down booze is the dominant flavor. Not like any other milk stout I have ever had. More like a thin porter. Was hoping for something along the lines of a milder Parabola, but it's nowhere close.

 379 characters

Photo of Stebow1289
3.24/5  rDev -23.4%

Photo of SB_Brewmaster
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of jhillwastaken
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of revooner
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of Omer4176
3.25/5  rDev -23.2%

Photo of jonathanjones27
3.28/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It seriously fell short of my expectation. Mouthfeel just was thin, flavor was light bodied and dissipated quickly.

115 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.3/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to Nick Swinford for the 22 oz bottle! Poured into a wine glass; from yesterday.

A: Pours a very dark brown color; it certainly doesn't have the opacity of other big 8%+ stouts. There's a finger worth of light mocha colored head. The retention is poor and minimal lacing is left behind.

S: At first, the aroma is quite mild - this one needs time to open up. Once it does, though, it brings notes of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and oats.

T: The best part of the brew. It starts off with a one-two combination of vanilla and chocolate on the taste buds. Gradually, it will develop some mild oat flavor, then transition straight into pure bourbon. A touch of alcohol burn is prevalent in conjunction with the bourbon/oak note, but it's hardly bothersome. The bourbon - while showcased well - more or less swallows the base brew whole. I could use more complexity as well.

M: Very thin, almost intolerably so - it feels genuinely insubstantial. There's nice carbonation to bring the flavors to the palate, though. The finish is sweet, sticky, long, and tannic; it's an easy brew to sip at least.

O: This isn't a bad beer at all. But given it's reputation and semi-rarity, it should have been better. It's thin and simplistic - two things I don't want from a barrel-aged offering. Honestly, I think I'd like the regular Velvet Merlin more...but we don't get that in Maryland (seriously, WTF? Maryland gets all the barrel-aged offerings from FW, but not Pivo Pils or Velvet Merlin?)

 1,499 characters

Photo of buyyourfreedom
3.31/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was really looking forward to this beer but came away underwhelmed. I felt the flavors were too subtle, particularly since it is barrel-aged. Also, it was entirely too thin for my taste.

 191 characters

Photo of DCgolfpro
3.33/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of RandomExile
3.33/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: opaque black; no head; gothic spiderweb lacing
S: sweet, sharp bourbon barrel, tobacco
T: decided oatmeal on larger pulls, a sweet bourbony flavor reminding me of a candy from my childhood I can't quite place ... I understand why others are citing coconut and vanilla, but disagree that they overshadow the bourbon.
M: Medium-light for a bourbon, dry side of sweet
O: Fine for a bourbon barrel. Not my variety, but this has no dischordant notes, has that decidedly sweet/caramel flavor people are looking for in this style, and can easily stand up to the richest of soups or meats.

12oz / Tulip Glass / VGP, MD

 615 characters

Photo of denver10
3.36/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Pours black with a big marshmellow mocha head. Aroma is smooth bourbon and its barrel, caramel, chocolate, and a kiss of vanilla. Flavor was a bit disappointing for a FW barrel aged beer; smooth bourbon barrel comes in as I would like but the rest of the beer is quite lackluster. A little roasted barley, some caramel, and chocolate as well, and some of the sugars from the oats. A creamy, medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, I would probably have been far more lenient on this beer if it came from just about anyone other than Firestone Walker. However, knowing the magic these guys can do I was quite underwhelmed here. Not bad, and I easily finished my pour, but I would not come back to this one.

 699 characters

Photo of Benish
3.37/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of enelson
3.4/5  rDev -19.6%

Photo of lafoodie8808
3.4/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a whisky bomb when cold, but that improves as it warms. Unfortunately not enough to make this a winner. Not a bad beer, but doesn't live up to how amazing the rest of this series is.

 195 characters

Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.23 out of 5 based on 2,428 ratings.
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