Velvet Merkin | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin
2,564 Ratings
Velvet MerkinVelvet Merkin

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

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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,564 |  Reviews: 406
Photo of CBack465
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of PlayitAgain
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of mig100
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

King of oatmeal stouts. People who're complaining about this beer not being big enough, or having a thick enough mouthfeel or costing too much, need to remember its called Velvet Merkin for a reason... it's a smooth and easy drinking BA beer.

It still has to go through the barrel aging process in the same way the other beers in the series do (Parabola, Stickee Monkee, Sucaba, etc...). An incredible and at this point, underrated brew.

 438 characters

Photo of tclipse
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of Ngntjp
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of StephRai
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of freshflesh
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of exl_90
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Looks pretty inviting, although at 8.5% it's neither motor oil black, nor motor oil thick.

S - The nose is awesome! Vanilla and cookies. Bourbon is subtle.

T - Could use a little more chocolate. The vanilla notes are pleasant but faint. Bourbon character is similar.

M - Super smooth but still quite thin.

O - At roughly $18 a bottle I did not really feel this was a big enough beer to justify the price tag. It's a nice beer for sure, but I'd only go here again if it were about half the price.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%

Oatmeal cookie, vanilla, subtle bourbon flavor, a touch of coffee roast. Body is medium, very smooth and drinkable. Acidity is low. Lingering moderate sweetness. It's good, not great, so I wouldn't buy it again for $15 nor advise you to (buy Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout instead).

 278 characters

Photo of Danimal25
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of Jack_Malts
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of CraftFan5
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Photo of Kander
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of neurobot01
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Updating review for 2015 vintage (previous review below; previous rating 4.05). Bomber into a Teku at cellar temp on 9/18/15.

Look: dark brown, a bit thin looking. Big head with a vigorous pour that quickly fades to a faint light tan ring.

Smell: like you put Velvet Merlin on your morning bowl of Cocoa Puffs. Huge huge powdered chocolate.

Taste: basically exactly like the smell. The bourbon is a lot more present than in the aroma, but the chocolate leads the way. Lacking most of the typical FW barrel characteristics (toffee, coconut, etc).

Feel: definitely a bit creamier than I remember VM being in the past. Still light bodied.

Overall: if this were released as a special version of Merlin, it would be great. As it is, it is inevitably compared to the rest of the Proprietor's Vintage series, and it just doesn't stand up. This beer isn't meant to emulate Parabola, so people come in with that expectation and are disappointed. If you come in expecting an amped up oatmeal stout, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

---Previous review---

2014 bottle at fridge temp into a snifter, allowed to warm.

Looks lighter in body and color than most BA stouts. Initial taste is basically Velvet Merkin Plus—almost a cola flavor profile going on. A hint of bourbon, but very mild, and few other barrel characteristics. The aftertaste is amazing vanilla/graham cracker/milk chocolate/toasted marshmallow. The mouthfeel is pretty thin. Overall, I remembered this as being better from last year; looking forward to updating this review once I crack my cellared '13.

 1,566 characters

Photo of Piels25
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%

Photo of geocool
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of Stokastic
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of Screper
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Kramerwtmf
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of kvgomps
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Mhollerb
3.92/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of riotontheroad
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of Premo88
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz. bomber poured into snifter
(2013 vintage)

L: standard black motor oil, big tan head at least 1.25 inches that doesn't stick or lace; no light can pass through beer, but it might be relatively clear

S: VERY boozy ... smells like whiskey mixed into dark malt ... what you'd expect with some dark dark notes of licorice; oak wood and whiskey take over as it warms, and it’s fantastic; really starting to get the coffee now, kind of an astringent bitter/sour coffee note like some of the central/south american coffees can get

T: loads of stuff here ... whiskey, vanilla malt, dark malt bleeding into licorice, kind of raisiny, very burnt up front or in the middle, but that smooths into a nice wood-char taste that lingers in the aftertaste, very nice; real dark compared to the velvet martin

F: mighty fine ... got lots of carbonation and not too thick, so it’s as drinkable as a pale ale

O: great sipping brew with good whiskey and wood notes; it’s pricey and I think I like the nonbarrel-aged version better, if that’s possible, but the 8.5% ABV is cool because most barrel-aged stouts are 10% plus and this is much less. i like that.

 1,161 characters

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Velvet Merkin from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 2,564 ratings