Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale
717 Ratings
Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
The blend consists of: 31% Double Double Barrel Ale, 29% Sticky Monkey, 27% Parabola, 7% Velvet Merkin, 3% Good Foot, 3% Black Xantus

Added by ZX6Chris on 11-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 717 |  Reviews: 303
Reviews by Pahn:
Photo of Pahn
4.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottled 10/25/10. Kind of dreading writing this review, since I hate my longer reviews, but there's lots to say about this one...

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch frothy tan head that dissipates steadily and leaves a tight, short-lived ring of lacing. Pours a very dark red brown with red highlights. Looks about as good as a blend of 6 barrel aged beers could, really.

Smell: While pouring, the room fills with the smell of chocolate and coffee. Putting my nose to the glass, the coffee is gone, and I'm greeted rather with some mild oak, a hefty note of banana / raisin like malt, and a small hint of chocolate. Some foresty hops come out with warmth, as does a ton of oak, bourbon, and cookies.

With time, the smell comes to be dominated by oak, bourbon, yellow cake, and alcohol. These are four things that are very dear to me, and I'm compelled to bump the smell score up another half point.

Taste: Thoughts at first sip: "Oh my God, what a taste!" Thick bourbon, oak, caramel, toffee, ripe banana / plump raisin, with a tingly finish of coffee and chocolate. A beer that could taste like that all the way through is a beer that deserves a perfect score. The first sip of this beer is, perhaps, my ideal beer; the god beer.

At the second sip, I'm rocked back into reality by heavy hop bitterness and flavor (piny, herbal, grassy), and a hot hit of alcohol. The cookies and caramel remain, but the character is much different.

The next several sips leave me a bit confused... of course, it's not strange that the beer tastes like a big English pale ale plus English barleywine plus Russian Imperial Stout (plus a ton of oak)... but it's not quite clear that this combo works. Sometimes I get smooth, decadent oatmeal stout characteristics, others I get highly bitter, pale ale notes that seem to clash. Does this beer make any sense?

These bold flavors are all, on their own, very very good, but a) do they work together? And b) are they masking the underlying subtleties that could render this beer world class?

I'll spare you the novel that is my notes on the journey of this beer, but i will say: regarding (b), only a few years in the cellar will answer that, and on that front the beer, at the moment, fails (because those underlying subtleties are glimpsed in various sips, but far too rarely).

Regarding (a), the answer is yes, these bold flavors achieve a great harmony. The high IBUs (this is a very bitter beer, but it's all hop bitterness, no roast) and powerful alcohol heat compliment the extreme richness of the thick stout and barrel flavors. In the end, the flavor settles into a surprisingly simply but delicious, bitter mix of hops, heavy barrel, caramel, cookie influence, with some highlights of chocolate. The aftertaste hints at a greater complexity, but the main perceptible flavors work very well.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Notably smooth and creamy. Heavy heat, heavy hop bitterness. Long, good aftertaste.

Overall: As much as this bold, somewhat palate-wrecking beer hints at higher heights than it reaches, I really enjoyed this bottle. While it may not deliver on all of its promises, it's a surprisingly effective (and identifiable) mash-up of three styles of beer.

I can't tell if the beer's problems would be solved by age, or are rather genuine dilemmas. The heat could stand to be tamed, but wouldn't the defining barrel character also fade with time? Honestly, I doubt that time will bring this beer to its great potential. Still, a remarkable beer that I would happily drink again.

 3,590 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Runs4Beer
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of abeerdude
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Britton
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of megamass
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of mctizzz
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of aquazr1
4.75/5  rDev +8%

Photo of Mora2000
3.76/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mar for sharing this bottle. I have been looking forward to this one.

The beer pours a dark brown coilor with a white head. The aroma is a disappointment. It it not bad, but it is not what I was expecting. I get a lot of soy and toffee, as well as some leather. I also get something that resembles trash. Hopefully the flavor will be better.

For the flavor, I get a lot of roasted malt and chocolate, which is coupled with a lot of barrel-aging characteristics. I get a nice amount of oak and maple, as well as quite a bit of vanilla. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Luckily, the flavor was much better than the aroma, which salvaged this beer. Glad I got to try this one.

 697 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of kingcrowing
4.28/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a wine glass.

Pours a very dark black color with hints of ruby and a small ring of dark brown head. Nose is a bit sweet, but very oaky and mellow with very little booze.

Taste is amazing, super complex with raisins, dark fruit, sweet malt and sharp flavors. Very drinkable given the abv. very tasty beer.

 332 characters

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of ehammond1
4.31/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2010)

Thanks for the gift, NoSignsOfPain!

(Aged 1 year)

Very dark brown in color with ruby red highlights near the edges. There is very little visible carbonation and no head to speak of whatsoever.

Divine aroma of toasted coconut macaroon cookies, bittersweet chocolate, mild roast, and plenty of earthy and vanilla bourbon notes. Complete. Mild hint of alcohol until it warms fully to room temperature, then more booze certainly becomes present.

Coconut, bourbon, roast, mild chocolate, and a bit of alcohol heat make for a lovely combination.

Medium mouthfeel with very low carbonation.

A wonderful blend, though I wish it would have been just a tad more carbonated (and thicker).

 699 characters

Photo of sourdog
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of HoppySeb
4.56/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.19/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black. Expected lighter given the other beers in the blend that aren't stouts. Bourbon dominated nose.

Easy drinking for the abv. Muddles all the beers blended, I can't taste Parabola or Velvit Merlin, etc. . . but it is interesting. Bourbon is heavy, but not as much as its aroma was. A little bit of everything else, chocolate, oak, vanilla, rummy sweetness, brandy, some other kind of wood heavier than oak, chicory? Not too thick, actually on the thinner side of most beers in this abv range. Maybe a kick of dark sugar.

While this was great fresh on tap, I think it definitely has the build to age miraculously. Of my bottles, I'm going to hang on to all of them for at least one year I think. This really seems ageable.

 729 characters

Photo of jtladner
3.75/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of OStrungT
4.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a very dark brown color that when held up to the light just barely shows a slight dark mohogany color. It boasts a thin light brown head that fades fast, leaving no lace.

There is a lot going on in the nose on this one. I detect dark fruits up front. Figs and raisins. I get some smooth vanilla. Bourbon is present, but not overpowering. Some bitter cocoa. Sweet toffee and caramel mix in as well. You can detect the 12.5% ABV in this aroma.

This beer has as complef a flavor as it does aroma. Vanilla first, with some fig/raisin flavors. Bourbon is present, more dominate in the flavor than the aroma. It has a very sweet caramel flavor. It is damn sweet.

This beer is very full bodies. It warms the mouth, throat, and stomach on the way down. This beer is low in carbonation, fitting the style.

This beer is definately a sipper. The very aggressive flavor and the high alcohol content make this one hard to put down by myself, but I think I will manage.

Overall: I felt that the 4th of July would be as good a day to crack open the $22.95 bottle. I have been sitting on it for a while. I am glad that I opened it. It is great. Firestone Walker is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries. This beer is great and will last all night long.

 1,265 characters

Photo of SPRichard
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of girllovesbier
5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of kevwcamp
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of striker2160
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.4 out of 5 with 717 ratings