Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 13 - Anniversary AleFirestone 13 - Anniversary Ale
401 Ratings
Firestone 13 - Anniversary AleFirestone 13 - Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 11-02-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 401 |  Reviews: 227
Reviews by elNopalero:
Photo of elNopalero
4.79/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I tasted this as part of a flight at an epic bottle share. The review is from my notes, based on at least 1 ounce and at most 2 ounce pours. In most instances this would be an insignificant sample size but considering the fact that I could quite possibly never even see this beer again, well, I couldn’t pass it up. [This is my standard intro to my tasting notes from the series.]

This poured a solid black with a cocoa-colored layer on top. I get a lot of dark chocolates and an Italian roast/espresso aroma. There’s a pronounced flavor of bitter chocolate, a lot of roast, some bourbon on it, maybe a hint of a maple sweetness. There’s still a touch of heat to this but overall the flavors have blended quite well. So delicious.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.82/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - This is very dark in color, almost black, with little head owing to the high alcohol content no doubt.

Smell - There are some wonderful fruits in this nose and the coconut is especially aromatic, but the sharp alcohol takes away from the overall bouquet. It's similar to a bourbon smell, which sounds great, but just a bit heavy on the booze.

Taste - The up front fruits just explode in the mouth especially as the ale warms. This is a fruity burst of flavor like none other. The natural coconut from the nose is the stand out of this crowd. The malts are heavily roasted into a nice flavor but struggle to keep up with the fruiting.

Mouthfeel - The alcohol sting that I was expecting thankfully was not here. What I did get was a nice, very pleasant feel with a slight boozy tingle. The body of this ale is close to full with a touch of bitterness.

Drinkability - This went down surprisingly easy for such a big beer. The high ABV though came across I think a bit too much.

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Photo of abeerdude
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Callmecoon
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of aquazr1
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely fallen off, which is too bad for my first time having it.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown to black with a tan head. The aroma is bourbon, roasted malts and some chocolate. The flavor is dark fruit, chocolate, some roasted malts and some oaky bourbon/vanilla notes. I also get something that reminds me of rum. A very complex beer. Low carbonation and very drinkable. Very good beer.

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Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of ehammond1
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Pizza Port
Carlsbad, CA

(Aged for 2 years)

Dark as night black with a thin brown head. This beer looks shiny, oily, and menacing. Spotted lacing down the glass.

A wonderful aroma, and very similar to Parabola's, though this one simply isn't quite as strong. The rich bourbon, vanilla, and wood come flooding forward first, followed by sweet caramel and toffee, and a bit of coconut.

The flavors consist of wood, earth, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, and a bit of coffee and chocolate. It's delicious, and the alcohol is incredibly well hidden.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and a touch oily--absolutely coats the mouth. Luscious and lovely.

A stellar beer--near perfection.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark pour... not all light-absorbing, but dark enough. A thin, dark, brown head that recedes into a thin rim.

Lots of vanilla, heat, dark malty goodness in the sniffer.

Taste is the same but I'm getting some dark fruits as well. Figs too, perhaps? Coconut, caramel and chocolate cake flavors are also coming out as this warms.

There is a ton of booze, to be expected, present. This doesn't actually hurt the drinkability all that much though as I'm taking near full gulps. It has a thin mouthfeel with decent carbonation.

This should age like a champ!

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Photo of OStrungT
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown, with a thin but fluffy light brown head. The head fades slowly, leaving a thick curtain of lace.

This beer has a nice nild vanilla aroma. Some chcoclate mix in as well. I can detect some bourbon aromas as well. A nice roasted malt aroma is present. It is a very well balanced aroma. Nice and complex.

This beer tastes like it smells. Vanilla up front. Some bourbon aroma mixes in with a sweet roasted flavor. This beer has a lot going on, and none of it is bad.

This beer is very full bodied. It leaves a vanilla aftertaste. Carbonation is low. Alcohol is noticable, but pretty well hidden in both the nose and flaovr of this beer.

This beer wouldnt be a great session beer. It is full bodied and aggressive, making it hard to put down. Also, the alcohol content will sneek up on you.

Overall: Wow, this is a great beer. Everyone needs to try it if they can. Firestone Walrer has yet again impressed me with this years offering.

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Photo of glid02
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Brad - thanks!

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet molasses and large amounts of vanilla. Backing this up are hints of coconut and larger hints of roasted malts. As it warms mild amounts of oak enter into things and the malt flavors sweeten even more.

Tastes similar to how it smells. There's a lot going on but the profile is dominated by dark molasses and semi-sweet chocolate. Also making an appearance are good amounts of vanilla, lighter amounts of slightly roasted malts, and lighter still amounts of sweeter - almost nutty - toasted malts. The ending is on the sweet side but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass very quickly just trying to discern all of the flavors and could easily have another doing the same.

Overall I was impressed with this effort however I have to say that it's my least favorite of the series so far (XII I haven't yet had). I really think this could benefit from a year or two in the cellar as the alcohol was a bit too pronounced and the sweetness could use some tempering. Worth trying now if you have two but if you have only one I'd recommend letting it sit for a while.

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Photo of pwoods
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to swnicholson for the bottle!

22oz. Brown bottle poues inti a chalice.

A: poured a deep brown, almost a loose black. Decent wispy head on the pour with a little bit of retention... Lots of barrel. Some lacing.

S: Soft but rich bourbon aroma with loads of deep barrel. A good healthy smokiness holds maybe a touch of smoky bacon and covers up some of the vanilla sweetness.

T/M: Great stout flavors with plenty of barrel flavors. The bourbon and brandy blends get a bit lost but still come through at times... More of just a bigger alcohol presence. More of the smokiness and light bacon, especially as it warms. Deep, rich sweetness, molasses. Body is medium full with some Belgian light carbonation.

D: Drinks incredibly well for 12%. Very tasty brew.

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Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Stigs
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split with BA'er thebouch01 - my portion poured into a Stone Levitation glass

A - the beer is slightly hazy, deep brown/ruby in color much like Dr. Pepper. only a short lived fawny tan foam and small ring sit atop. just a few speckled spots of lacing throughout the drink.

S - opens up wonderfully with notes of bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, and cola. more sweetness abounds with some vanilla bean, off-set and balanced wonderfully by some alcohol. warm and inviting.

T - begins with a big taste assult of bourbon, oak barrels, and vanilla sweetness. accented towwards the middle is some creamy milk chocolate, malted milk balls, and tobacco as it warms.

M - medium body with nice present and amplifying carbonation. very dry in the mouth and a bit sticky. finishes with lingering dark fruity sweetness, and warming alcohol.

D - we have a good one here. excellent example of blending beers, especially keeping barrel flavors in check and balance yet still showing them off. complex and delicious.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks go out to murchmac (The Commish) for a great and well run Fantasty Football season this year, and this excellent bottle of potion.

Pours a pitch dark color with a light tan head that retains well, given the style, but quickly dissipates into a thick rim around the edges with some tan island skimmers. Lacing is minimal, but present.

Nose is incredibly complex, reeking of a big stouty base, vanilla and bourbony liquor notes from the barrels. Some slight woody spice and a touch of cherry are presented as well complimenting some tobacco notes that increase and develop well as the beer warms.

Well. FW is certainly having great success with their barrel room, and from what it sounds like they have put the time and effort in to do exactly that. This one opens up with large roasted grain that is quickly balanced by big vanilla and tobacco notes. Light chocolate notes come out as it warms. Vanilla also comes out more as the beer increases in temperature. Some caramel makes its presence known. Dark fruit and wood come forth towards the finish. The finish is a little bit more bitter than i expected, but not too bad. Bourbony. Pretty dry for the style, but pretty slick in general. Aftertaste is lingering vanilla and oak, with some dark fruit and fairly prominent alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel is just about ideal for the style. If anything is is ever so slightly thin for its relatively ominous abv. A little drier than i had expected. Carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability is pretty good for the beer itself, all things considered. The abv will make itself known but you had to expect that in a 12% BA'd beer, and if this ages as gracefully as every past FW anny brew has, then that will fade nicely as this beer develops into something special and another essential part of one of the beer worlds best verticals.

Overall, another impressive and exquisitely barrel aged anniversary beer from Firestone Walker. These guys put alot of effort into these anny brews and it shows. Very well done once again, and noone should be suprised this time. Easily one of the best Barrel aging outfits around. Great beer once again.

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Photo of Sammy
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gift to Radek, and to us. Initial impression, an imperial stout. What it is is lots of chocolate, mouthfeel on dark brown with lacey, off-wehite head, thick mouthfeel. A very smooth drinker without sharp edges. Masterful, there is coconut, chocolate, bourbon. Nothing overwhelms.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled multiple large pours into a snifter as part of a vertical at the Firestone Anniversary party at Blue Palms. Matt, the brewmaster was standing over my shoulder for much of the time, answering my questions about barrel types, blending, etc.

Comparing a fresh keg to previous bottles may not be entirely fair - though I allowed the temperature to balance out before I began making comparisons.

Cordovan and burgandy body, with dark cherry and dried blood highlights. Small light tan head with average retention for the ABV and style. Some lacing.

If as Matt says - as part of a vertical, the beer you have the least to say about may be your favorite, this may be mine - as the experience of it seems to be short-circuiting my analytic capabilities in favor of a pure emotional response.

Parabola and Bravo synergize superbly in this year's blend. Dark chewy aromatics suggest the addition of dark fruit into the oak. Beyond bourbon notes, the blend of barrels brings to mind wine, port, and a touch of brandy as well. Toffee, caramel, brown bread, and mild hops are in there along with a low roast scent. "Quiet" is a good word, and yet there is still so much going on. Though some tasters may find this to be overly polite compared to 11, to me this is more artfully blended than any of the previous anniversary ales.

Like 12, dates, plums, figs, licorice, leather, and hops on the palate; however mid-palate there is quite a bit of chocolate and even some peach as well. Big tobacco notes again, but these are even more integrated into the whole. The finish remains very long and somewhat dry. Some additional element I can't put into words...

Rich velvety texture, and very slightly tannic - excellent medium-bodied feel overall. Creamier than the other anniversary ales, though this could be due to it being on draught vs. from a bottle.

Even fresh, I'd say this is the smoothest of all the anniversary ales, with the best integration of flavors. No need to wait to drink this, it is as good or better than 12 right now, and I'm not sure it will age as well as 11.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this at hoppymcgee's tasting 1/16. 3oz. pour into an 8oz. pint glass. Had alongside the 12. Reviewed from notes.

A: Gentle pour yields a .5 finger fine milk chocolate colored head. Like its brother, this one is opaque black. Lacing is spotty, stringy.

S: Nose is again, boozy. However, its more subtle than the 12. Chocolate, vanilla, oakiness dominate with a background of raisins and dried dark fruit.

T: Opens sweet and boozy but again, more subtle, but quite hot nonetheless. Dried dark fruit, raisins, a bit soy saucy. Also molasses and honey. Hops are less detectable in this beer, overcome by the strong malt profile.

M: Medium to full bodied, the feel of this beer is really what makes it. Smooth and oily in the mouth with a finish that is sweet and sticky. A very hot beer that is tempered by its body here, the feel is what allows the flavors to really come out and present themselves.

D: A highly drinkable beer more so than its counterpart. A remarkably enjoyable body with the complexity and balance to match. Maybe a bit hot at times but still very enjoyable. I wouldn't hesitate to have this again. Another very well-crafted blend from FW.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, obtained somewhere along the line and aged a few years

appearance: silver box, black foil - they royal treatment. served in a large unbranded snifter, nice mahogany body, creamy beige lace.

smell: rich aroma - bourbon, caramel and chocolate, wood, vanilla, decadent chocolate cake

taste: rich chocolate cake, nice level of bourbon flavor but without much of any boozy burn, creamy caramel, vanilla, wood, brown sugar, tobacco. Nice stuff - quite drinkable and extremely well balanced given the strength

mouthfeel: rich and full flavored - not overly heavy, light carbonation

overall: nice stuff - a bomber will be surprisingly easy

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Photo of leschkie
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%

Photo of Damian74
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Firestone 13 pours a dark mahogany or chocolate fudge color. It's very dark, but not opaque. Light bleeds through at the edges revealing crimson highlights. A modest tan head covers it. It's only a finger or so tall (if that lucky), and dissipates quickly. I suspect the high abv murdered this one. Lacing was sticky, but light.

The nose is good, but isn't a stunner. It kicks off with a healthy mix of chocolate and caramel malts. The chocolate scent smells like a mix of sweet milk chocolate and bittersweet dark chocolate. I like that. Barrel aging imparted subtle notes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. They're not all that strong though. Secondary scents are very subtle. There is a little coffee and residual earthiness. Perhaps it was somewhat hoppy fresh? Alcohol is noted, but doesn't suggest 12%. Goo d stuff.

The flavor definitely kicks it up a notch. The base is definitely a blend of chocolate and caramel malts. The chocolate variety seems stronger and includes flavors of sweet milk chocolate, cocoa, bittersweet dark chocolate. It's nothing short of delicious. I like the subtleness of the bourbon flavor. It's very flavorful, but doesn't overwhelm the other flavors at all. Oak and vanilla are also noted and complement the malt flavors nicely. There is some roasted coffee, light molasses, and pepper at the secondary level. There's a hint of hop remnants, but I'm not sure how hoppy this was initially. Alcohol is noticeable, but has apparently blended well. It's not hot, and doesn't seem like 12% at all. Finishes malty with a touch of bourbon and oak.

Firestone 13 has a medium body that definitely leans thick with warming. Feels very nice and smooth. I like it more and more with each passing degree. Drinkability is good. There's no question that this is a big, bold stout. But, it goes down easy for such a big beer. I'm mindful of the 12%, but will finish off the bomber with ease. One's enough though.

Firestone 13 is impressive. If memory serves correct, I prefer Firestone 11, but this is about on-par with Firestone 12. I can't say that it has any material shortcomings. The nose could use a little more strength, but that's about it. Once again, Firestone Walker has crafted an excellent anniversary release. Find a bottle if you can.

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Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 401 ratings