Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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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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Reviews: 300 | Ratings: 712
Photo of Monicagm
2.83/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown color with low carbonation and a thin head.

At first you get an umami scent but eventually it starts smelling like dark chocolate.

Has a chocolate taste.

Heavy mouthfeel.

Overall, an ok beer. Not one that I would be able to drink an entire glass of because the taste is heavier than I'd like it to be.

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Photo of stephens101
2.96/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown with a pure tan head. Smells of milk chocolate, ripened cherries, plum and dark bread. Taste is limited to milk chocolate, vanilla and dark fruits. Cloying and too rich to handle with the alcohol coming in overly strong to add insult to injury. A highly rated, but simple and lopsided beer, which of course makes me question my "beersanity" but confirms my perception with another sip. Might be good in small doses, not unlike cough syrup or moonshine.

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Photo of jmarsh123
2.98/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Decided to raid the cellar to see how this one is holding up. Pours dark brown with a small tan head. Decent retention and a bit of lacing down the glass.

Lots of sweetness in the aroma. Brown sugar and molasses with a touch of cocoa. Not element of heat anymore.

Sweet taste as well. Brown sugar and molasses are evident with a touch of coconut and dark chocolate. A little bit of bourbon presence, but most heat is gone. Really just kind of bland and sweet.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side which is a complaint I have on most FW anny beers although age seems to thinned it out past an acceptable point. Carbonation is holding up well.

Proof once again FW beers are best fresh. Having had both XV and XVI recently, they are both tremendously better than this. Really just kind of bland at this point.

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Photo of oregone
3.05/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle into shifter
Pours fairly low carb. A ring of lace around the edge settles in quickly from the moderate pour and light initial head. Dark brown bordering on transparent black.

Smells decent. Big oak and creamy barrel presence with some age apparent in the softness. Nothing aggressive here. Coconut. Rich maltiness.

Not so good. Stale old soft carboardy flavors. This has not aged well at all. Big hit of coconutty oak and pronounced booziness out of line. Very hot on the finish and the aggressive barrel character lingers on the finish. Some melanoiden and deep malt character fighting the stale flavor.

Nice mouthfeel. The low carb is about perfect here. Luscious, rich and decadent. Would be great if I want the flavor hanging around.

Overall, not great. Not unpleasantly bad, but not good. I'd rather look at it and smell it. I would pass if offered it in the future.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.25/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Dark, not quite black. No head. Some legs and lace.

Smell - Bourbon barrel, but mostly the spirit smell. Lacks a complex barrel aroma. Sweet. Vanilla and caramel come through, but that's about it. It's all bourbon and only a hint of beer.

Taste - Alcohol. Caramel. Booze. No oak. The barrel seems lost again. Very sweet with bourbon. Hop bitterness but not enough to give it any semblance of complexity.

Mouthfeel - Boozy and sweet. Low carbonation. Thick and syrupy. Slow to drink.

Overall - It's bourbon without any of the good barrel notes that usually accompany it. I don't really love the beer behind it, either. Uninteresting.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.26/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black liquid with a hint of red on the edges and a somewhat creamy tan head. The nose has the most bourbon and barrel of the series compared (11-14) and it seems a bit too present. sweet toffee and vanilla, a bit sugary. The flavor is similar, too sugary and too much barrel and bourbon. Vanilla, marshmellow, sweet toffee, light roasted and a bit of heat. Medium body, smooth and the most carbonated.

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Photo of xhuskr
3.36/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Awesome aroma on this beer along with an appearance that could make me wait. Very complex brew, but the alcohol was a bit too much overall for me. I didn't finish my glass so I share it with others. The bourbon flavor was a bit strong for my palate at this time, but I look forward to trying this again when it's not so hot. Two bottles have been put away along with my other FW anniversary brews. I would say this beer is a must try, but not a must finish...yet.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
3.51/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown pour with very weak head. Excellent full oaky boozy smell with burnt brown sugar and caramel. Remarkable flavor considering the high alcohol presence, with malt, sugar, and caramel. Mouthfeel a bit thin. Great tasting beer overall, overcoming skepticism of "blended" beer. Drinkability suffers a bit with high alcohol presence, which can be overcome as evidenced by many other beers.

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Photo of jnn4v
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark mahogany / espresso brown color. Barely translucent. Very little head that is a surprisingly light color - almost white. No visible sediment or haze.

S: Smoke, grainy sweet dark malt, molasses and sorghum. Bourbon, vanilla and oak. Cocoa powder.

T: Very sharp alcohol burn. Very hot - singes the back of my throat and hot burn on the tongue in the aftertaste. Cocoa powder, molasses and a hint of licorice.

M: Relatively thin mouthfeel. Not terribly much carbonation. Seems reasonable for the genre, albeit a bit less body than I'd prefer.

D: Moderate drinkability. Seems to be challenging to drink at both the cold and warmer temperatures.

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Photo of veinless
3.57/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a Coca-Cola brown with no real head. Only a thin, light tan cap was present and remained static throughout the drink. The body was murky and only slightly translucent.

Smelled of licorice, molasses, some crisp herbal hops and semi-sweet chocolate. Smells pungent but not overly so. At the same time it seems rough around the edges.

Taste follows with molasses and charred malt, some pine astringency and mellow chocolate before moving to a slightly burnt coffee finish. Again, the blended nature of this beer isn't hidden as well as I'd have liked, but it is definitely solid.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light in terms of body when contrasted with the flavors. A coating is left between sips and carbonation is livelier than expected after seeing the head. Drinkability is good but held back by that roughness; it got harder to drink the further into the glass I got.

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Photo of gregshead
3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Jet black with little carbonation. Swirled it and had very little in bubbles stick to the side of the glass.

S: Mmm. Vanilla/Oak overwhelms my smell.

T: Oak taste dominates my palate. Other more suttle tastes are hard to pick out. Very well blended but lacks a complexity

M: Smooth with little but some carbonation.

D: A solid blended aged beer but it didn't blow me away. Lots of oak taste.

Maybe my palate is not ready for this masterpiece but it seems like it just didn't have the complexity I was hoping for in a blended beer like this. Overall a good beer but not amazing.

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Photo of calir1
3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So I must say that I appreciate the barrel aging thing, but this beer is like a beer whiskey. It looks good, smells like a bourbon barrel and tastes like whiskey covered in beer. It tastes great, but sip after sip of this taste gets to me. The first few were really good, but it seems I missed the beer part of this and drank a diluted beer induced bourbon. I get that this beer was aged in these containers, but I assume it takes on the flavor and not be the flavor. It is good, but way to much alcohol flavor for me.

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Photo of Kristienhare
3.66/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer had an extraordinary smell. At first I thought it had a type of soy sauce aroma but then I notice it was more of a dark chocolate smell. The taste of the beer was a little bitter for me but it left a hint of dark chocolate in your mouth which was very good. The after taste of the beer was very delicious.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours black with ruby highlights and 1 finger of fluffy white head that dissipates moderately slow. Low carbonation.

N: Vanilla, oak, booze and nuts.

T: Oak, vanilla, toffee, dark chocolate, almonds, red grapes, brown sugar, molasses with hints of citrus. There's a lot going on and a lot of tastes tend to get muddled together.

M: Very full bodied and creamy.

D: This stuff is thick with a 12.5% ABV which makes it a super-sipper. Alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of beagle75
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a half-pint chalice.

A: Slightly hazy, medium red-brown color with a peripheral ring of light beige bubbles. No lacing remains on the glass.

S: Brown sugar, vanilla, maraschino cherries, tamarind, and earthy spirit all combine to good effect in the nose. A moderate alcohol presence is pervasive and comfortable.

T: Begins off-dry, with molasses and roasted malt that is slightly scorched. Carbonic acidity is strong into the middle where plentiful bourbon and oak qualities develop. Dark chocolate and more bourbon are in pleasant company by the finish which is boozy, drying, and moderately bitter.

M: Thin to medium viscosity; wet, hot, and slightly acidic on the palate; with low carbonation.

D/O: Potent in its flavor intensity, but diminished by a level of acidity that just isn't welcome in a beer of such heft. Still, barrel qualities are captured in appealing fashion, particularly in the smell, making it a worthwhile strong ale.

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Photo of Overlord
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm just not sure what to make of these anniversary blends. 10 was fantastic. 11, fresh, was as good if not better. 12 after a few months was also superb. Not the hugest fan of 13, and now ... well, this was fairly meh.

Pours a dark brown with ruby/ruddy highlights. Almost no head or bubbling, just some crust around the edges of the glass.

Smells boozy with bourbon, brandy, and just straight alcohol. Wow. Lot of heat here. Tons of vanilla, oak, and ... chocolate and dark fruits in the aroma.

Taste is surprisingly fruit forward, considering it wasn't really in the nose all that much. Kind of a raisin puree base, with chocolate, more oak, tons of alcohol (bourbon and that kind of weird port alcohol flavor), more alcohol, yet more alcohol, and an interesting aged fruit liqueur flavor mixed in. It's just too. damned. hot, and the base, while flavorful, isn't strong enough to balance it out.

Mouthfeel was nice and slushy, but it was a chore to finish the entire 22 oz., and I love me some booze.

**I pulled the ingredient list out of the trash and was very surprised to see a bunch of barleywines and a double (???) pale ale featured predominantly. Okay... that's interesting ... but I'd say having three or four "lighter" barrel aged beers in the mix is probably the reason for the alcohol heat without the accompanying stronger flavoring.

I don't know ... considering the price tag, I'm tempted to be pretty harsh with this review, but I guess I'll leave the cost out of it. I'm glad I didn't buy more than the three bottles I did.

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Photo of mjn5036
3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Coca-Cola brown in the pour; black whilst in the glass. Small off-white head quickly rises and falls. No visible lacing.
N: The bourbon notes seem to hit me up front, bringing with it caramel, sugar and vanilla. A combination of sweet fruit notes and righteous hops come together to create an interesting smelling brew for sure.
T: Bourbon and dark fruits seem to dominate the palate, with some bitter hops in the aftermath.
M: Big and viscous with too little carbonation to make it as drinkable as I would like.
O: A bit too boozy. While it has a lot going on I don’t think all the flavors are integrated as well as I was hoping for.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.74/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to have a relatively innocuous path to this beer, so far the 11 is the only one I've had to go on an active search for, 25.4 oz. bottle,

A: Pours brown, with a moderate tan head for the so-called style, limited lace.

S: Lots of caramel, some booze. Treacle dominates, an inviting nose as all its brethen in the past have been.

T: Lots of dark chocolate, caramel and barrel. The booze is there a bit, but the overall flavour is nice. Good complexity overall.

M: Full-bodied, fairly smooth, little boozy.

D: Everyone's saying this is the best since the legendary 11, so I was real excited. It's good as they've all been, but the 12 was clearly better earlier. Like the 13 this is a beer that needs some time to find itself, it needs aging, that is my final suggestion for the 14, give it a year.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.76/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.77/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Beerness for the bottle! Poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours dark brown, slightly red. Light tan-colored head, no lace and some whisps remain on top here and there.

S - Lots of booze, oak, chocolate, roast, and malts. There's a large amount of booze here, which I expected, and that stands out over the rest.

T - Booze, chocolate, barrel, caramel, and malts. The barrel character is very nice and I can tell this one is going to be awesome, with the large amount of bourbon I'm getting out of this.

M - Full, smooth and rich, light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Very boozy, but that's to be expected. I'm going to wait another year and crack another bottle and give this another shot. While it's a good beer right now, I think in another year or so, it will be great.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
3.84/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L - Pitch black with dark brown edges and less than a finger of khaki-colored head

S - Bourbon is still big and sweet after all this time. Also some cherry ,oak, and coffee.

T - Fluffy milk chocolate and strong bourbon, but that's about it. Noticeable lack of other flavors that pop. Also appears to have some oxidation with some black licorice and Sherry-like qualities. Subtle roasted malts and coffee too.

F - Velvety, smooth, and thick. Lack of carbonation is obvious as is the absence of alcohol.

O - FW Anniversary Ales are not meant for aging. Drink them fresh.

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Photo of DaveJanssen
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at brouwers served in a snifter. Reviewed 2 January 2011.

Ar: Sweet chocolate, rich caramel, alcohol, burnt huints, heavy and strong caramel/toffee

Ap: Black, low light tan head, good retention, lace hints

T: Chocolate, roast, alcohol, definitely tastes like a dark barleywine was a major component, molasses, rich syrupy dark malt with slight roughness, sweet balanced, maple

M: Medium/thick body, alcohol is warm/hot, low/mid carbonation

O: good but it is too hot, not stoked on the slight roughness to the darker malt

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Photo of Pencible
3.85/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like lots of bourbon and dark chocolate and rich coffee, with lots of oak and some alcohol.
T: It tasted like super sweet tootsie roll chocolate, with rubbing alcohol and coffee and licorice. It had a super hot and bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was thick and oily with a bit of carbonation. Nice and full.
D: This had a great scent and taste, with excellent body. But tons of alcohol made this a sipping beer only. It was surprisingly not complex, unless all the subtleties were drowned out by the heat. Aging this for a long time would probably turn it into a delicious beast. Drinking it fresh is like tasting a glimpse of its future glory.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazelnut color. Coffee bubble tan head leaves a lacey coral display consistent skim of retention. Pretty good for 12.5%.

Eathy, dare I say natural aroma of wood char, cocoa nib, blackberry brandy,and dark coffee grounds that have sat in the bodom all night because I forgot to wash it.

With multiple layers of flavor its as complex as all get out. Char, bitter bakers chocolate and brownie batter. Blackberry and black cherry buried under all the char and chocolate. Mild heat. Plush mouthfeel.

I can see what the hype is all about but it's just not my bag baby. There's almost too much going that I can't comfortably process it all. Like acid jazz in beer form.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a blackish color with some chestnut brown hues around the color. A soft head with limited retention. Noticeable lacing though.

The nose is complex. Sweet malty undertones with some lighter oak and vanilla notes. Some minor bourbon notes but limited. Some yeasty aromas but kind of hidden by the malt. Some chocolate and toffee notes. Some hint of esters, rose peddles and plums and raisins.

The taste is sweet as well. The malt really comes out with a nice complexity but a bit muddled. Some munich-esk malty notes with chocolate and a hint of roast. Some syrupy almost molasses which lingers into the finish. The oak is light compared to the nose but the bourbon comes out more. Some spicy almost herbal tobacco notes. The yeast is mostly clean, but noticeable esters. Big plum and raisins. Some lighter cloves but limited. Some fusel.

The body is big. Sweet lingers almost on the verge of calling it under attenuated but just a lot going on. Carbonation is very limited to non-exsistant. Overall could use some more time.

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.33 out of 5 based on 712 ratings.
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