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 ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I will start off by saying this was my least favorite FW anniversary beer but it was still pretty darn good. Dark black color with a smell that at first was all barrel-aged spirits. The mouthfeel was quite creamy and the taste was mostly barre-laged imperial stout with wood and vanill, real nice but not as good as the 12 and nowhere near as good as the 11 (my favorite). The alcohol was a little hot but who cares since i split this with several people. I like what FW is doing with their anniversary beers and I look forward to trying the 14 later this year as well as parabola.

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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 waltonc
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown with tan head. Smells amazing, as all FW anniversary beers do - vanilla, coconut, toffee, a little caramel. Taste is more of the same. I kept getting some cinnamon in the taste too. Not sure if my tongue was just playing tricks on me. Lots of alcoholic heat that I imagine will settle down over time. I didn't notice all the vinous qualities some reviewers are writing about. Body is thick with spot on carbonation. Delicious stuff that I'm sure will only improve with age as the FW anniversary brews always do. Can't wait to open another bottle.

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Photo of jminsc76
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of alexd3891 to complement a vertical with Firestone 14. (note: we had this several months ago with chocolate cake at alexd3891's birthday party) [yum], but he was quick to point out during this tasting that the strength of the aromas and flavors have died down considerably since then)

Into a wide-rimmed, non-stem wine glass pours a cocoa-colored head atop a black body. Reemerges quickly upon agitation, only to die down just as quickly.

Aromas include slight quantities of coconut, graham crackers, and some roasts. Despite the loss of intensity, I still *whiff* away because what is there is decent.

Flavors are still fairly rich, with an excellent amount of chocolate and roasts on the finish. The issue noticed among those of whom I am sharing this with is not that it lacks complexity, but impact (i.e., oomph!). A shame considering the ABV level.

Mouthfeel is soft and silky; a bit thinner than I prefer, though not unsurprising.

Overall, I may have enjoyed this more had Alex said nothing, but he's right. It is blunted, sadly only a shadow of its former self oh so not long ago. It tastes good (pairing extremely well with the blue cheese and chocolate/peanut butter cookies present) rather than great. That being the case, and considering how awesome a previous bottle was, I will be kind with my rating.

Here, enjoy some eye-candy (from bikebusbeer via flikr; yes, that is me in the background with pen and notebook in hand):

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Photo of stephens101
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally decided to wake this one from its year long hibernation.

Thin tan and quickly fading head off a medium pour down the middle of my favorite snifter. Black in color with faint red hues when held to light. A few dotted lines of lace move up, down and around the glass.

Rich sweet malt and cherry aroma with a little vanilla and spice noticed on a second take. Complex and unique to the palate with sweet and smokey malts, milk chocolate, dried dark fruits, licorice, and subtle piny hops at the far edges.

Creamy all the way through with a medium to heavy body. Smooth and inviting. Alcohol is superbly blended and almost indiscernible.

Very distinct brew here. Has some Barleywine qualities which make for an interesting juxtaposition of tastes when you figure in the chocolate and vanilla notes.

Been looking forward to popping the cap on this one for a while, and have to say it was worth the wait. Damn fine brew despite, or maybe because of, its eccentricities.

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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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Photo of youradhere
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in a 12, 13, 14 vertical.

Bottle opened with no pop, poured dark, deep mahogany, with less red tint than the 12. Slightly more carbonation than the 12 as well. Smells like bourbon, oak, cocoa,with vinous notes. Taste is sweet and hot, lots of cocoa, more roast character and definitely more tannins than the 12; thinner mouthfeel lets this drink alright, but I prefer something chewier. Still the best out of all of them IMHO.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wethorseblanket for sharing this one at the Firestone Walker night at Steingarten LA in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is quite complex and is of roasted malt, brown sugar, cocoa, cookie dough, vanilla, slight toasted coconut, wood, and bourbon/alcohol aromas. Taste is very much the same with a woody aftertaste and quite a boozy finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but I prefer the smell over the taste. This one might be falling off a little bit flavor wise but I never tried it fresh so I won't know.

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

Review #500 for me.

Waited a year to crack this puppy, glad I did. Pours a dark black with some creamy head and lacing.

Smells of vanilla, bourbon, licorice dance through my head.

Excellent taste swirl of vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, sweet chocolate lingering.

A little bit of boozieness still but as always an excellent anniversary beer. Much better than 12. Still holding up.

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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 orangesol
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to foofaa for bringing this one to Stakem's Fish Fry.

A - Pours dark brown, bordering on black, with a nice one finger tall tan head leaving spotty streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of coffee, brown sugar, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and a bit of oak. There is still a bit of alcohol present but it doesn't get in the way. Still very nice.

T - Starts off with a big sugary kick - mostly chocolate, toffee, vanilla and brown sugar - but it fades quickly, leaving hints of coffee grounds, dark fruits and some drying oak. Finish is a mix of dark roast and a bit of sweetness. Once the carbonation died the flavors went with it. Still pretty good none the less.

M - Pretty smooth feel initially. The flavors work really well together but the carb goes a little flat toward the end of my sample.

O - I liked this one but I would say that I like the others I have had more than this one. It has some great flavors but was a little out of balance for my tastes.

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Photo of Phelps
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks: pours a thick molasses-brown, with the faintest reddish-amber highlights. A small but persistent cappuccino-colored head rests atop the liquid for a short time, then dissipates to near-nothingness.

Smells: sweet. So many smells going on: vanilla, brandy, raisins, leather, faint cinnamon, a bit of orange. Like the best characters of red and white wine have been mixed together, I get the pungent aromas of deep red grapes and spices with the light citric pep of the nose of a chardonnay. Subtle notes of dark chocolate and fruity belgian yeast. This really is exquisite.

Tastes: Wooden and spicy. A not-so-subtle but perfectly in-check bourbon character imparts notes of alcohol-ridden vanilla and heavy oakiness. Sweet cola, dried plums, a slight roasted malt character. Spicy brandy flavors round out the back with cinnamon, orange peel and overripe red grapes. The finish is equally brandy-esque; the tangy and alcoholic flavors mingling and lingering near the back of the mouth. Vanilla ice cream with brandy-infused plum sauce.

Feels: like a present. The mouthfeel is an unexpectedly heavy; a creamy delight. Full-bodied and viscous, it encompasses the mouth without feeling oily or overpowering. The carbonation is light yet peppery, and the finish is surprisingly crisp. At 12 percent, some burn is expected, and it's definitely noticeable, but not scorchingly so.

Drinks: like blended bliss. The major component beers of 13 are all ones I enjoy, so it would make sense I like this guy a lot. It's a fruity, bourbony, roasty, spicy mix (in that order). Very well done.

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Photo of bret27
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle courtesy of Diomede

S: Vanilla, malt, smoke, oak

A: Very dark brown, dark brn head

T: Vanilla, malt, oakey, little more heat than 12

M: Little thinner body than 12, but still good

D: Pretty good for abv, but thin body and alcohol presence makes it a little tough. This is a fresh bottle however.

Overall: Very nice, but maybe not epic.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a bit of off white to brown head. This little bit fades quickly.
Smell has lots of sweet milk chocolate, caramel, date and a bit of spice.
The taste doesn't quite match the smell. It tastes just a bit weak in comparison. Nice mild chocolate, rich fruit and a sweet yet dry finish. A very nice caramel note blends well with the hops. Feels nice and creamy with very little carbonation apparent. Delicious.

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

Bottle shared at IBG 2010 Winterfest. Poured dark brown with a moderate to large frothy brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Heavy toasted malt, woody with a small bourbon alcohol aroma. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Heavy bourbon woody and malt flavor with a heavy bourbon sweet finish of long duration. This is a standout beer.

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Photo of mikey711
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this bottle from Weibull during the White Whale BIF

A: Dark brown with some light able to shine through. Tan head that is a quarter inch thick and holds ok. Some lace.

S: Caramel, roastiness, smokiness, oak, vanilla, bourbon, wood. Very nice blend of flavors, all more towards the sweetside but some balance is provided by the smoke and roast. Also some chocolate

T: Nice caramel and butterscotch and chocolate notes to start, some toasted nuttiness and coconut. Mikd wood notes and some warming bourbon. There was a bit of a syrup quality to it as well.

M: Good body with not much heat, but there was almost a saplike or syrup like quality that gave it a weird chewy feel at times

D: I enjoyed this one over the course of a few hours and it was a very pleasurable experience. Probably best shared but if you have the time you can finish it on your own

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter at a tasting. Thanks to Russwbeck for the bottle!

Mahogany brown bottle, slightly silky coming out with a chestnut hue, and a faint tan collar. Looks slightly dead and lifeless with not much going on, almost kind of sludgy.

Real interesting nose. Still quite a good amount of heat on this thing, with some good bouquet of berried fruits. Hints of cherry, purple grapes, and the a kirsch brandy action a bit particularly.

Palate is real impressive. Good toffee thickness with a candy bar crispness. Real good wood action with an almost cigar box character, splintered sandal wood, but it's also very boozy and hot. Palate feel kind of stays neutral and simple, with not a lot of complexity or depth, and just lets the flavors do the basic talking. A good hint of hot alcohol, but many of the flavors are just struggling to get past it.

As impressive as this is, it feels like it's ready to jump overboard any second. Still very nice, but it seems much of the oomph has left the bottle. Still delivers nicely.

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Photo of jbone78
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I feel extremely honored to be able to taste this beer. A friend found this for me. I thanked him greatly and paid him $25. It pours dark almost black with a tad of a head. Strange because it is carbonated well, more so than expected. Tasted notes of vanilla, chocolate, and blends well with the bourbon. Tastes great and is an easy drinking barrel blended beer.

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

A monster cheers to BOLTZ7555 for the chance to try this anniversary beer. Doopie, Pasqual and I got together for an awesome "what-did-you-call-my-mother" night of fun and French misunderstandings. We lined up the XV, XIV and XIII all at once. Ou est mon fromage?

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Darker pour on this one. Transparent black pour yields a medium sized, medium looking, light tan head with good retention. Black, transparent body with no carbonation evident. Head fades to light wisp and ring. A splotchy wisp and ring remain and leave dots of lacing down the glass. Definitely darker than the other two.

SMELL: Milder nose of milk chocolate, oak and licorice. Bourbon, with some vanilla and sweet cream, as well as a nice portion of dark chocolate on the nose. A little mild for sure, but very complex and enticing. Enjoyable stuff.

TASTE: Barrel notes with bourbon, oak, vanilla and milk chocolate up front. All this is supported by a solid base of roasted malts and bitter, dark chocolate. A bold aftertaste of bourbon barrel flavors and some roasted base beer lingers nicely on the palate. Flavorful, showing a very nice balance between base beer and barrel. Very different than the other two as well. More stout-like.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, smooth as well, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers on the palate. A touch creamier and smoother than the other two.

OVERALL: A solid brew for sure, and my favorite of the XV, XIV, XIII lineup we did. This one was more like a bourbon barrel aged stout, which usually agree more with my palate. Moreover, this one also showed a better balance between the roasted and stout-like base beer on the one hand, and the bourbon barrel aging on the other. I don’t know if the extra age played a roll in this, but nevertheless, the beer is right up my alley at this point. Thanks again BOLTZ for sending this one our way. I would love to drink this one again. Highly recommended.

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Photo of jsanford
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with brown edges and a thin off-white ring of haze. Aromas of oak, caramel, molasses, dark berry, chocolate, raisins, and Bourbon. Well-crafted, well-blended, and pretty decadent smelling. Taste is similarly chocolate and Bourbon-forward (you can definitely taste the Parabola), with more dark fruit, caramel, molasses, and a touch of ashy oak. Smooth as silk, and nicely aged. Mouthfeel is slick and a touch creamy, with a medium-full body and lower carbonation. Great anniversary beer from FW, can't wait to try more of the releases.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tasting glass. Thanks go out to Jim or John for sharing this one!

(A)- Pours almost a black, but brown color. Some tan froth shows up.

(S)- Dry, w/ just a touch of heat. Some caramel rich raisin and molasses. Subtle hints at vanilla. More stout-like than the others were with some roasted components.

(T)- Very rich molasses with a touch of raisin and caramel. Again, has more forward roasted components than the others did.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Has some boozy warmth, but not overwhelming. Has a nice sweetness; minimal bitterness.

(D)- Shows promise for aging. I think a year tops and this one could be as good as the 11 was

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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 JustinA1
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared with ThreeWiseMen on 11/17/10. Poured into a Brandy Snifter.

A - Black. Sexy Black. Red tint on the rim with a milk and coffee colored head. Retains well for a one year old beer. Light foam on over a midnight black liquid. The contrast is gorgeous.

S - Aggressive nose. Chocolate, bourbon, Caramel, Toffee, Coffee, Vanilla, Oak. Hints of dark fruits, almost red wine, but not quite. Reminds me of Wine Country. Fresh, crisp, transcendent. Dark chocolate provides the chorus to a bourbon lullaby.

T - Strangely, I'm immediately confronted with a spicy and earthy flavors, almost herbal or pine. Turns into coffee and dark chocolate and with finishes with a subtle yet unmistakable bourbon flavor.

M - Full body that coats the mouth well with a fantastic condition. Serves the beer very well, Not as smooth as I recall from previous tastings but still pretty fantastic.

D - Great beer, hides the alcohol well but I wouldn't forget it's there. Better than 14 for sure (tried side by side). I would gladly drink more of this.

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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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