Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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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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Reviews: 226 | Ratings: 399
Photo of Mahlik
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

3 oz sample at Belmont Station. Part of a vertical flight of FW Anniversary XII, XIV, XV. Got to meet Firestone Walker co-founder Dave Walker. He was a really cool, laid back guy who was very approachable and seemed to genuinely love the beer his brewery puts out.

A - Pours an almost opaque dark brown. No head or lacing. Looks very viscous and oily.

S - Lovely vanilla and oak notes hit the nose first. Bourbon, dark fruits and a slight nuttiness blend in. Some chocolate notes as well.

T - The barrel characteristics and big dark malts dominate. The bourbon and vanilla notes really stood out for me. Nice chocolatey and nutty flavors play in with some dark fruits. I found the sweetness to be subdued in the flavor.

M - Somewhat thick and oily with almost no carbonation. A bit chewy. Some warmth from the alcohol but nothing major. Finishes pretty smooth. Easy to drink for the ABV.

O - I feel lucky I was able to get to try this. I like the complexity and approachability this beer delivers. The barrel aging really brings a lot to this beer in terms of aroma and taste. I had this two years after it came out so I'm not sure if this beer was as smooth when it was fresh. But this beer is remarkably smooth for the ABV.

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Photo of whatthehull
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


A - deep dark black/dark brown, very slight deep tan head and minimal lacing

S - Wow, so sweet and oaky! Vanilla, nuts, spices, a little alcohol, scotch, slight yeast, chocolate and coffee

T - licorice, very nutty, toasted malts, spices, vanilla, molasses, very sweet, lots of oak, a nice scotch smokiness, very nice alcohol, bread like yeast, chocolate, slight coffee, a very slight hops, earth, terrior and more oak

M - full bodied, awesome complexity, balanced, medium minus acidity and lovely and long finish

D - the years have aged this beast well. Tons of flavor, well balanced and if you like barrel aged anything, this is for you. Such a lovely beer.

Final thought - soughtbygod thanks for this one. $35 and 12 abv with nice age in it, wow!

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Photo of dirtylou
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
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 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to mrandypandy for this brew!

drank this last night and review from notes.

bottle date of 11/4/2009.

Appearance: Black bodied beer with a small quickly fading medium brown colored head that is becomes a ring around the outside of the glass.

Smell: Huge malts and huge barrel notes. Smokey and roasty.

Taste: similiar to the nose. Lots of malts and barrel notes. Chocolate cake, vanilla, dark fruits, oak, bourbon, and molasses. Fairly sweet, but not cloying. A smidge of bitterness shows up in the form of a coffee note that is mild. Well integrated beer with nice complexity.

Mouthfeel: high end of a moderate bodied beer with low carbonation. Chewy and smooth. No booze burn, just a warming sensation and quite drinkable at the ABV.

Overall: Really enjoyed this beer! Wish I had another bottle! Seek it out!

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Photo of claspada
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of rwinzing in a trade several months back.

Pours out a near black body, though with lighter brown hints at the edges and capped with a small, rapidly receding beige head that lives some spotty lacing.

Aromas begin with a vast array of malt and barrel-imparted smells. Dark molasses, anise, charred oak. Dark bitter cocoa powder, burnt coffee grounds and light coconut emerge as it warms.

The tastes begin quite sweet with a full range of rich, delectable flavors: chocolate ganache, creamy oats, smoked vanilla beans, spicy wood, caramel candy, macerated dark fruits, flaked coconut, light tobacco, chilled coffee and dark molasses. Some slight bitterness coming through. Warming, peppery alcohol tones begin drying out the taste as it warms. Dark chocolate candy bars washed with fine bourbon on the warming, semi-dry finish.

The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with medium-low carbonation. Exceptionally smooth.

Overall this is a really complex beast of a beer. Flavors are extremely deep and robust. This is drinking perfect right now and the alcohol presence is so minimal it isnridiculous given the fact this is 12%ABV. Wonderfully complex, yet still keenly drinkable. Highly recommended and well worth seeking out.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to my buddy Kevin (kzoobrew) for sharing this want with me at the CBS release. Taken from notes.

Appearance – Poured into my generic tulip at the release which Kevin makes fun of (shakes fist in air at Kevin, ha!). A dark brown color when held up to the light, light tan head that dissipates quickly leaving slight lacing.

Smell – Chocolate, vanilla, brown sugar (candied), dark fruits, and bourbon.

Taste – Thankfully not as sweet as the nose led on. Lots of oak and dark fruits such as plum. Chocolate, bourbon booze, and toffee.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, creamy, lower carbonation.

Overall – Quite a fantastic beer though I did notice some oxidation. It appears to be falling a bit off but still a very good tasting beer from FW.

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Photo of Duff27
4.02/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a light mocha collar. Slow alcohol legs. No lacing but good head retention for the style.

Big time sweet aspect.

Big time roastyness. Some sweetness?

Big time something or 'nother. Thick mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

Reminded me a lot of Dark Lord with the sweetness muted a tad. Glad to have a chance!

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Photo of meatyard
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out black with a short, tan head that recedes quickly to a partial cover without lacing. Not bad, not beautiful.

The smell is a great aroma of oak, vanilla, tobacco and bourbon. This is one of the better aromas that you will find.

The taste is much the same as the smell only better. I get some chocolate in the taste that I didn't get in the aroma. The vanilla lingers.

Mouthfeel is medium but coats nicely with mild carbonation.

Overall: This is a delicious and complex beer that allows for a multitude of wonderful aromas and tastes. Just a great beer that I wish I had more of. (I'm hoping a friend in Portland has most of a case left.)

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Photo of ehammond1
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
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 Urbancaver
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

shared at Churchill's by a generous employee

Pours a very dark brown with a reddish tint. A bit of light brown head. Smells bourbony and vanilla heavy. A bit of astringent booziness but very tasty. Very sweet on the tongue. The sweetness is really nice. almost some lactose on the tongue. Thick full mouthfeel. Overall a great albeit boozy brew

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Photo of scottfrie
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into Portsmouth snifter. Split with mjyoung, bbb099 and others.

A: Pours an extremely dark woody brown with reddish highlights. The head is thin and dark brown and left tons of spotting lacing down the glass.
S: Notes of bourbon, rich chocolate and a touch of caramel although it’s not all that sweet smelling.
T: Rich and oh so complex. It’s bourbony but not dominating. I get notes of chocolate, vanilla, dates, tobacco, oak and leather, and the finish has a touch of brown sugar sweetness. This is really good.
M: Alcohol is warming over a thick body and slick, almost syrupy yet chewy mouthfeel.
O: Extremely enjoyable, similar to an imperial stout but almost better. There was no harshness to it, but the alcohol is still a touch warm in my throat. Overall very good.

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Photo of teamizm
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a RRBC tulip.

A - Black, really not opaque at all. A little head, which surprised me for an ASA.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, booze, chocolate, coffee. The chocolate malts really come through.

T - Oak and bourbon are predominate, as is the chocolate. Secondary flavors are vanilla and espresso. The heat is there.

M - great mouthfeel, very smooth and full bodied.

O - As always, the FW Anniversary beers are great. I still prefer 14 over 13. Also, seems to walk a fine line style-wise between a RIS and a ASA.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Split w/ scottfrie.

A: A dark viscous pour with a thin head that dissipated quickly.

S: Strong notes of vanilla, chocolate and malt. It's a complicated nose, but it's hard to pick something out.

T: Very smooth, balanced taste. A bit of bourbon in it with a pretty sweet aftertaste, mostly vanilla. There's a solid base of chocolate and the oak-y character comes through well. There's not much to say. It's very well done, but I can't do it justice. There is still a hint of booze, but it's mellowed considerably.

M: There is some fantastic carbonation in this beer. I really like the body as well. It walks the narrow line between too watery and overwhelmingly thick.

O: This is a fantastic blend that's strongly reminiscent of Parabola (which makes sense), but the mix of other beers has enhanced the flavors that make Parabola special, rather than detracting.

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Photo of baybassboy
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured at a tasting/bottle-share with a couple friends into my Stone Specialty Tating glass on 6/18/11.

A: Pours from the bottle the darkest brown that you can imagine, yet somehow not black. This puzzles me a bit as it sits in the glass much in the same manner. Medium viscosity, not quite that heavy stout "glug glug". Very little to no head, just a few med-small bubbles around the edges. Noticeable alcohol on the swirl and decent lacing.

S: The first thought that came to mind when waffing this beer was that it was almost wine-like. There is a very fruity and sweet aroma (perhaps from the belgian style in the blend) that fades almost immediately ito carmel and vanilla. I then get a bit of chocolate, but that fruity aroma comes back and lingers. I really enjoy the complexity of the smell of this beer. Light alcohol. It is very soothing.

T: Hit hard by the same fruitiness that was in the smell of this beer. Light rostiness. Fig, lots of plum/grape, and a slight bit of molasses. This is also the first beer I have paid attention to where I can truly say I can taste a "tobacco" flavor. More heat than anticipated. Super complex taste with lots of grapes lingering between sips. It is honestly like I am drinking a beer/wine hybrid.

M: Medium bodied with a suprisingly good amount of carbonation. While I don't feel like my mouth is being coated, this beer still lingers long after a sip.

O: I am loving the complexity of this beer. Looking back through my notes and with my constantly thinking about it after it was gone, I fear that I have ubderrated this beer. I really want to try another bottle, but I fear that that may never be. I hope that luck is on my side with 13...

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Photo of nlmartin
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blind Beer # 11. This beer was shared with my wife. I had a 50/50 shot of having a kill shot. I got lucky this beer was a very fine beer to celebrate our 11th anniversary. The beer was chilled and served in a goblet.

A- 4.5 The body of the beer is dark brown nearing black. One finger nugget colored head. The head resolved to a thin layer.

S-4.0 This beer has sat in a barrel for a good long time. The aroma of the beer is caramel, cocoa, dark roasted malt, a bit nutty.

T- 4.0 This beer has a very nice flavor. Lots of oak, caramel, a flash of smoke and char, dark roasted and toasted flavors, dark fruit notes hit my tongue, I think this has been bourbon barrel treated. The alcohol is present and peaks out but more in the terms of warming.

M- 4.5 The body of the beer is full moderate levels of carbonation. The alcohol is warming but not hot. Very well done.

O -4.5 This beer is very well done. The beer improved steadily the longer the beer sits in the glass. This was a great beer for sharing.

Reveal. Firestone Walker 13th. This is a most excellent beer. It has in no way peaked. Lucky me I have another bottle in my cellar. Thanks Phelps for yet another great beer!

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Photo of FosterJM
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

554th Review on BA
Bottle to snifter

Thanks to George byway of Vince byway of Jazz for this one

App- As the beer flows from the bottle in the light it's very ruby red. As it settles in the glass with a nice 1 1/2 finger head it's a very sodaish brown with some decent cling after each sip that slowly fades.

Smell- If this makes sense, in my head it does. It's a very soft aromatic scent of heavy bourbon. Vanilla, oak and some Liquidy milk chocolate notes. Not what I was expecting at all.

Taste- Well very surprised by this beer. It's very balanced between the barrel characters and the liquid chocolate flavors. A little boozy if drank too fast. A well done sipping beer. The flavors are big and delicate however.

Mouth- The ABV stays with me for awhile as does the oak. It's medium bodied and very similarly carbonated as well.

Drink- A very tasty beer two years on. I am becoming quite fond of the barrel program at FW. I'd like this one again. Well crafted, not super boozy, smooth and very flavorful.

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Photo of kayalla
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour is black with a tan head into a Cigar City snifter. Aroma is rich and bright, mostly with dark chocolate, nice light roast, plum, raisin. A hint of black licorice! Flavor is sweet, nicely tempered with a light bourbon note. Very full and rich. Dark chocolate, roast, licorice, pretty earthy. I like how there are roasted, woody qualities to this combined with a plum, licorice, earthy flavor. My favorite of the five Anniversary beers.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.95/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very black, surpringly so for something that is not a porter or stout. SMall head that left a slight abmout of lacing in it. Nice looking. but truthfully not sure how it takes on the style.

S - Very chocolatey, with some vanilla notes and a slight bit of whiskey bourbon.

T - Decent bourbon taste, but it's mostly chocolatey. A decent amount of oak influcent, but mostly toffee, with a bit of dark fruit. Surprisingly full flavor for what it is. A bit of alcohol burn in it.

M - Full bodied, nicely carbonated, works very well for the style.

D - Very rich and filling, the high alcohol makes this definately a sipper.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks Paul!

Firestone Walker tasting, including FW 10-14, Abacus, Parabola, Walker's Reserve, Black Xantus.

Order of preference and notes: 13, 12, 11, 14, 10
Abacus and Parabola still shined. Along with FW 13, these were my three favorites of the lineup, with FW 12 not far behind.

A: FW 13 appears a near black color. There's a pretty nice looking head resting atop the blackness and some decent lacing left behind.

S: The nose is all different kinds of wonderful goodness. Toffee, oak, booze, malt, chocolate and more.

T: This tastes fantastic. Seriously. I'm so glad I got to try this, let alone half a bottle. This beer is insanely complex. Parabola seems to emerge more so than any of the other beers used to blend this anniversary ale (that is not a bad thing). Although the beer is so profound and possesses so many characteristics, they are woven together masterfully.

M: Nice, thick feel. Alcohol is there, but I wouldn't say that this beer is hot. Nice warming finish. Superb feel.

D: Highly recommended. By far the best of the Firestone anniversary lineup.

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Photo of KeefD
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally getting around to drinking this after it was sent to me by my man Knifestyles back in February. Thanks a ton for this one, Chris!

Pours a dark brown color that is solid black in the glass. There's a small tan cap that pops up, but not much else. Aroma has a nice mix of caramel, chocolate, vanilla, oak. Pretty much what was expected. Taste is the same. Caramel is at the forefront, you can really taste the imperial brown in the blend, as well as the Parabola, which gives a nice roast flavor, but I think considering this is a year and half old now (after bottling) a lot of those flavors have rounded out and given away to chocolate, molasses, and caramel. There's also some sweet brown sugar, a bit of dark fruit, and very little barrel/oak/bourbon/rye whiskey qualities going on here, but again, this could be to age. All in all, it's really tasty, but I still think beers like this that have already been aged in barrels should be had shortly after bottling rather than hanging on to them for so long. Body is a nice medium, alcohol comes through and gives a very mild warmth, but it's good overall, despite maybe need a bit more Parabola in these regards. Damn good beer overall. I have no idea what it tasted like soon after bottling, but I can say it's definitely holding up well as the flavors are all very well-balanced, and there's no sign of it going downhill at this point. Thanks again Chris!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at our FW Anniversary Tasting. Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours black, no head, thin ring, no lace or retention.

S - Sweet cherries, dark fruit, burnt sugars. Very rich, decadent, and sweet. The alcohol has really smoothed out and it's not hot at all. The sweetness and smooth booze really work well together.

T - Dark fruit, dark chocolate, oak. Really not as sweet as the nose suggests. The fruit, chocolate, and oak are the main notes going on here, with vanilla, caramel, and cherries finishing.

M - Full, rich and smooth, viscous, creamy finish.

O - Probably my favorite of the vertical along side 12. The aging process has taken away the alcohol heat that was there when fresh and the sweet fruits, chocolate, and smooth booze have come together well. Recommend.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark colour, can't find much colour in that at all, just dark. Touch of brown on the outer fringe but it may just be a glass refraction effect. Head is lacklustre, just bubbles on the top, small specks of lace around. Looks too heavy, really, to bother about the niceties.

Smell resembles gorgeousness. Oaky to the max with masses of vanilla, caramel, and a touch of funk; loads of woody aroma. It's really quite dominantly wood with only underlying hints of roasty chocolate, and coconut as well. Seriously though, oak-age your beers, people. It just works.

Taste, to put it mildly, and not to put too fine a point on it, is a motherfucking crackhouse of pimping ecstasy. Dark base, with chocolatey edge takes on huge oak notes with all the wonderful associated flavours - coconut, vanilla, a slight mouldy funk, cinnamon and dark, dark wood. Bit of boozey heat on the back with a touch of caramel, mint and butterscotch - not diacetyl though, a proper, rich butterscotch. What a fantastic mélange of deliciousness; sweet, complex, magnificent.

Actually the body is surprisingly thin, but with a hot booze sensation late. Oddly enough I'm not hugely enamoured of that given the flavour.

Overall it does seem a bit hot and overcooked at times. It's a big beast of a beer, and while the aroma and flavour are fantastic, it's definitely a 'share with friends' beer and would knock you out if you tried this on your own.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased, I have to say, somewhat arbitrarily in the US on my last trip, saved up and brought back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeeroronottobe.

Pours dark, very dark indeed—a deep black colour, just browning at the edges, with a frothy and bubbly head of ochre. Head doesn't stick around for long, but that's somewhat to be expected in a beer of this weight. Body looks thick, and it leaves some very good static carbonation when tilted. Looks good.

Nose is beautifully rich and redolent with big oaky characters, giving vanilla and coconut whiffs with a good bourbon booziness. Not as dark as it might be, indeed, it's leavened with a sweetish almost strawberry like fragrance, but it's so pleasantly balanced. Lovely, just gorgeous nose. So complex, but so wonderfully even handed.

Taste is similar, and the oaky characters come out in full here, giving a mellow vanilla-pod tweaking to rich full flavours of creamy sweet caramel and gooey chocolate cake. Smooth but light on the palate, which leavens the sweet and heavy flavours enough to make is surprisingly and welcomingly drinkable.

Holy goddamn what an excellent beer. Smooth and complex, but leavened and really perfectly balanced. Such lovely rich flavours but never too much in any direction. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 03/11/11 notes. On tap at NOTB up in Boston.

a - Pours a black color with less than an inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, tofee, and caramel malts. Lots going on but well balanced. Smells great.

t - Taste mirrored the nose; lots of bourbon, oak, and caramel malts. Also some roasted malts, sweet chocolate, vanilla, and dark fruits. Again, very balanced and enjoyable; not too boozy.

m - Full body and low carbonation, thick and chewy mouthfeel. Very light alcohol heat, but great for a 12% strong ale.

d - I really liked this one; if the FW 14 morphs into this, I'll be very happy I have a few bottles of it. It wasn't overly boozy, and the smell and taste had a lot going on. Would love to have again.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared with my buddy Johnny. Out of my SN XXX glass...

A- Pours pretty black in color, with a healthy khahki colored head. It looks a little thin to the eye, nice lacing though.

S- Smells beautiful, a sweet blend of bourbon and malt. Chocolate, oak, and dark fruit.

T- It's a nice subtle taste at first, which transitions to a oaky bourbon sweet flavor. More chocolate, and cream. There is a nice lingering hoppy aftertaste.

M- Carbonation level is excellent for the style. The mouthfeel is a little too light though. I just wish it was a bit thicker.

O- Well, it's pretty darn drinkable. The 12% alcohol is barely noticeable till you start to catch a buzz. The body is the only thing holding this back.

Good stuff, however I think I liked 14 a little bit better. A very complex and tasty beer, that I would gladly drink again.

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Firestone 13 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.38 out of 5 based on 399 ratings.
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