Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale
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American Strong Ale
4.41 | pDev: 8.84%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale
Notes: The blend consists of: 31% Double Double Barrel Ale, 29% Sticky Monkey, 27% Parabola, 7% Velvet Merkin, 3% Good Foot, 3% Black Xantus
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Reviews: 304 | Ratings: 720
Photo of DocJitsu
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown with a taupe/tan head that attenuates quickly. The aroma is so pleasing with alternating toffee, bourbon, vanilla, and coconut. The aroma leaves little to be anticipated in the taste. So complex, yet the flavors seem to express themselves individually from start to finish. The creamy mouthfeel completes this phenomenal beer. It's a milder, more drinkable sibling to Abacus and Parabola.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Block 15 snifter.

A: Pours a very dark brown color with a very short lived head that faded into a thin collar. I’m not getting any lace.
S: Rich and complex notes of bourbon, cocoa powder, toffee, caramel, toasted malts, candied dates, woody oak and a hint of vanilla come through. This smells great!
T: Follows the nose with velvety flavors of toffee, taffy, caramel, toasted malts, chocolate icing, and raisins. Bourbon and semi-sweet powdered chocolate bring up the finish, and the aftertaste has notes of oak and vanilla. I get a hint of tobacco and leather as well. Rich and decadent all the way.
M: Low, soft, and bubbly carbonatinon, thick body with a greasy, slick and soft mouthfeel.
O: I had a splash of this fresh and thought it was very boozy. A year or so later and this is an amazing beer! Every sip brings new complexity. Probably my favorite next to 13.

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Photo of stxSS07
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a tulip.

A- Pours a very deep brown...almost black. Just a cap of milky-tan head that diminishes pretty quickly. Leaves no lacing, but a sticky film and alcohol legs.

S- Caramel, roasted malt-coffee, toffee, barrel-toasted coconut. Dark fruits come through with a bit of booze as the beer warms.

T- Wow this is good. Waves of caramel and toffee sweetness intermingle with some of the roasted Parabola component. Coconut, vanilla, and just a touch of bourbon heat round it out. Fantastic.

M- Extremely viscous and chewy. One of the thicker/fuller beers I've had. Low carbonation allows the finish to linger for a good while.

O- This is a really great beer. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink considering its size and the flavors it contains, but I wonder if it might have been a bit more vibrant when fresh. Either way...awesome.

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

On tap @ Wine Affairs for SF Beer Week, it's been epic & 5 days still left!

Pours a deep brown with ruby at the edges, half finger of off white head with decent lacing.

Smell is rich chocolate and coffee roast, earthy bread and oak, some spicy hops, coconut, bourbon and notable heat.

Reminds me of bourbon chocolate cake. Layers of chocolate & vanilla, licorice, sticky toffee pudding, fig/raisin. Mix of alcohol and wood create impression of bourbon, but heat is almost the perfect amount of burn I love in big dark beers. A bit of banana sweetness and fw house yeast breadiness round it all out. The 2 years have rounded things out but nothing pops quite as much anymore.

substantial but not chewy, thickness supports the huge flavors,a bit sticky and a nice heat that lasts. Just decadent and amazing.

Still the best dessert beer I've had. Everything is just perfectly balanced and extremely satisfying, but a bit more coffee roast would take the sweetness down a notch.

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Photo of beerpirates
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into Lost Abbey stemware glass. Dark chocolate appearance with minimal head. nice lacing !

S - Smells chocolatey, roasty with a hint of the bourbon coming through. Smells a little boozy, but really minimal.

T - Wow! Toffee, chocolatey, caramel flavors are strong. Definitely influenced by the bourbon barrels but not overly done. Taste some of the alcohol but not too strong that it takes away from the beer.

M - Perfect mouthfeel. Allows you to really take in all of the flavor.

O - I love this drink. It has a lot of rich flavors with a hint of the bourbon which complements great. I would definitely give this beer another go!

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Photo of Tmappin
4.42/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Firestone walker 14 shared with my lady. Bottle poured into a red wine glass.

I have to say I am really excited to try this. I love that more breweries are experimenting with blending. With that said on with the review.

A- pours black brown with a lovely chestnut hue around the edges of the glass. One finger of coffee and cream head that fades quickly leaving spotty lacing and a lovely halo around the rim o the glass. This beer looks like it would be the perfect drink to enjoy by the fire on a rainy cold night.

S- toffee, treacle, bourbon and dark fruit, figs and plums with hints of rye bread. Some coffee, vanilla, and wood. This beer smells better than most desserts.

T- Wow, bourbon!! The barrel aging really comes through here. Some alcohol burn as the first sip goes down. Roasty with some wood char. As the beer warms up a nutty caramel flavor comes through with a subtle hint of anise. There is some dark fruit here, raisins mostly. The alcohol burn is ever present and actually quite nice. A sipper for sure, take your time.

M- medium body, chewy and silky. The carbonation is perfect, light to medium just enough to keep this beer from being heavy. Nice!

O- what a treat! This may be the first blended ale I have ever had, but it certainly won't be the last. So chewy and delicious!

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.88/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 22oz bomber to Bruges hybrid glass on 1/26/12
*From notes

A: Quite a dark beer, almost stout-like in color. A good pour yields a creamy, cascading two finger head. Healthy retention and lacing follow.

S: Slightly vinous, which I credit a bit to it's year-long cellaring. Quality caramel, an abundance of vanilla and a laid back bourbon vibe round out the bouquet.

T: Complex and well put together. Strong, firm stout characteristics dominate. It's still got a hoppy bite to it, and the caramel, vanilla and bourbon roll from the nose right onto the palate. The woody profile really helps to reign in the wild flavors that overwhelm every millimeter of the mouth. Even at a year, this could use a bit more time in the cellar.

M: Creamy, yet not overly thick. It's immensely drinkable and doesn't show too much wear from it's extended barrel aging.

O: Firestone's 14th Anniversary Ale is a pretty solid blend of barrel aged delights. Not as strong as it's individual parts (specifically Abacus and Parabola), but still a worthwhile effort. Recommended, and significantly better then their 15th Anniversary effort.

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Photo of Monicagm
2.83/5  rDev -35.8%
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 camil1mj
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temp into a Kuhnhenn snifter.

A: Dark brown, but not so dark that light does not get through. Very little head or lacing.

S: Wonderful blend of toffee, caramel and bourbon.

T: This is the first blen of this type I ave tasted and I like it. Lots going on in this one. I can taste the Parabola and Abacus in there for sure. Chocolate, toffee, figs and caramel all are present with a nice follow up by some bourbon flavors.

M: Heavy bodied, but not sticky. Well carbonated.

O: Great blend. I am excited to try more of the anniversary blended beers.

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Photo of Kristienhare
3.66/5  rDev -17%
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 nhindian
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a cola-colored brown, a smidge muddy, but unless you are looking at the thinnest points of the glass, it's tough to see through this anyway. A wispy, tan head slowly bubbles up, eclipsing a finger's height before gradually receding. Lots of smooth lacing gradually breaks apart, with some parts falling back into the beer and the rest settling around the edges.

S - The nose initially brings an intense burst of bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla, giving the beer a very rich and sweet component right from the start. As it settles, the complexity starts to develop, as the oats, hops, and individual components of the blend come into play. Coffee, leather, and toffee are strong players, as well as a surprising citrus contribution from the hops.

T - My first sip brings a bit of heat and, again, a lot of the bourbon barrel. It's easy to get overwhelmed with this beer, since a wide range of styles, ingredients, and barrel-aging is present here. Right away it's easy to distinguish the Parabola portion of the blend as the roasted malts and anise are a constant presence in the background, which when mixed with Velvet Merlin/Merkin, give the initial flavor a smoothness that helps accentuate each aspect of the beer. I'm also getting a smattering of brandy as well, with an alcoholic grape and cherry flavor. In the finish, the hops seems to shine, as a citrus hop flavor takes over, adding a somewhat bitter cut to the overall flavors.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with good carbonation. This is actually much thinner than I was expecting; rather than being a heavy, syrupy behemoth, this is surprisingly lighter-bodied and very easy to drink. That coupled with nice carbonation aids this in drinkability, and a rush of varied flavors keeps the palate busy guessing as to what will come next.

D/O - Drinkability is high. I have to admit that this is much different that I was expecting. After hearing and listening to reviews of this beer, I was anticipating something that would blow me away from the start. Honestly, that wasn't the case, and the initial taste left a little to be desired for. However, as it warmed and the individual beers developed within the blend, I found myself enjoying this more and more. This is the quintessential sipping beer, as when it is near-fridge temperature, the more harsh and bold flavors dominate, but with each temperature change brings more and more subtlety and depth as the rest of the blend develops. This is a year old at this point, and I will definitely say that I am looking to get more of this to drink in the future as this has a ton of potential still.

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4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber to stemless. $22 for the single. Sampled on 8/13/11.

A: Pours with a 1 1/2 finger tall head, light to medium brown in color. The texture is foamy/creamy and the retention is above average given the style. Rich and extremely dark brown body. The thick film and collar remain for quite some time. Lacing is between spare and fair.

S: Overly rendered caramel mixed with molasses, leather and peaty earth. Light smoke or char. The barrel is as prominent as the bourbon and both fit perfectly within the aroma profile.

T: Enough complexity to stand up to the big, bourbon-based boozy structure of the beer. Added depth by way of toffee, vanilla, anise, toasted marshmallow, and essence of raisin - most distinguishable by the port wine-like flavor that hides underneath many layers of flavor.

M: Perfectly soft effervescence with a full body and thick, chewy texture. Impressively, FW 14 manages to stay away from cloying territory. The mouthfeel is drawn out and extends the flavor in a genuinely remarkable way.

O: The guys at Firestone Walker are brewer/blender savants and true master's of their craft. Their barrel program is top notch and ensures my yearly purchase of the applicable Proprietors Reserve Series beers. I love what they're doing over there.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark color, with a little light coming through around the edges. The head is nonexistent with some light soapy froth about the edges. The nose is very bourbon-like with plenty of alcohols. Not real sweet.

Raisin and almost chocolate sweetness up front build toward a grand boozy finish. The barrel notes are very well incorporated into the flavor and aren't overdone. It's like a velvety stout that's more sweet and not too bitter. I can really sense the warmth of alcohol at the back, but I don't necessarily taste it all which is nice. I would guess this beer is just starting to hit it's stride and will probably peak in the next year. The mouthfeel is lightly chewy, and the carbonation is very fine and appropriate. Some of these barrel aged strong ales start to get thin but this one has a nice fullness without being too heavy.

Very impressive flavors. From the aroma I was expecting a bourbony, alcoholic mess, but the taste has nice character and demonstrates a real ability at blending.

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Photo of Brez07
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed as part of the Blind Beer BIF #6. Split with 6 other people. 22oz bottle served in a snifter

A: Brown, no head at all. Very still looking. Even an aggressive pour only got a sliver which quickly disappeared

S: Smells barrel aged, probably 1-2 years, but also still seems a little young (hot). Lightly roasted. Chlorine? Maybe phelonic

T: Oh yeah, barrel aged. Oaky vanilla nuttiness. Nice dark chocolate. Some say dark fruit, specifically dates

M: Medium bodied. Some carbonation unexpectedly. Dry chocolate malty finish

D: Really tasty, seems like age has treated this well

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Photo of arizcards
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine at the end of last January for 17.99. Been sitting in my wine fridge awaiting this day!

Beer poured a dark brown with a nice brown head upon the initial pour.

Nose is awesome; bourbon, vanilla, oak, and mocha.

Taste is northwest hops, mocha, vanilla, licorice, and bourbon.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth on the palate.

Overall this is a delicious complex brew. Alcohol is warming but not overwhelming. It was a treat to have this brew!

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Photo of oregone
3.05/5  rDev -30.8%
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 Oxymoron
3.87/5  rDev -12.2%
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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Photo of Satchboogie
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours dark brown/almost black with a finger of light brown head. Pretty decent head retention for 12.5%, leaves just a little lacing.

S: Bourbon (oak and lots of vanilla), toffee and burnt caramel, milk chocolate, slight toasted coconut, and a spicy tobacco. Hint of alcohol soaked fruits.

T: Barrel character up front with vanilla and a bit of oak. Sweet toffee and burnt sugar rush right in the middle mouth with toasted coconut and marshmallow. Milk chocolate, roasted malts, and spicy tobacco. Dark fruits and more coconut, nougat, and oak round out the finish. There is a touch of alcohol upfront and a warm slightly burn on the finish.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, fairly smooth.

O: A balanced, complex barrel aged strong ale that I can dig. My only knock would be that it still seems a little hot after a year in the bottle (plus aging in barrels) and thus the body isn't as smooth and rich as I would like. That said, it's still a nice treat.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a Town Hall Snifter.

A- Pours a 1 ½ finger tan head, splotchy lacing, very very dark brown color, red hues coming off the bottom.
S- Complex aroma, hints of bourbon come out up front, vanilla, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, plums, cherries, oak/wood notes come out as well.
T- Similar to the nose, alcohol is present but not overpowering, bourbon, caramel, toffee, dark fruits (plums, cherries) slight roasty notes, oak, brown sugar, complex.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, smooth drinking, dry aftertaste, sticky, decent carbonation.
O- I really enjoyed this beer, first anniversary beer I’ve had from Firestone, really complex and easy drinking for how high the abv, would love to try the other anniversary beers.

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Photo of Damian
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fluid ounces/650ml bottle purchased at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, MA
Served in a snifter

The beer poured chestnut brown and was topped by a one-plus finger tall crop of frothy, khaki colored foam. The head quickly dissipated to a clingy, lasting ring of bubbles.

The aroma was ultra smooth and intense. Super strong bourbon notes were immediately noticeable. Lots of oak and brown sugar sweetness. Some vanilla. Hints of molasses. Raisins and prunes were also detectible.

Like the nose, the flavor profile was robust. Tons of bourbon. Initially, the beer seemed quite hot. Lots of caramel and brown sugar sweetness up front. Dark fruits, including raisins and prunes, came through in the center. Somewhat port-like. Good amount of black coffee. The finish was woody and dry with notes of bitter roast and crisp, piney hops. By mid-glass, as the flavors intensified, the alcohol presence seemed to decrease. Toward the drink's end, however, the booziness returned.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied. Like the other anniversary releases, this one seemed a touch thin. The liquid was smooth and creamy with a subtle effervescence.

Shortly after its release, I tried this beer on-tap and was disappointed. This year-old bottle however featured a much smoother and more rounded flavor profile. Firestone 14 ranks up there with my favorite of the Firestone Walker anniversary releases.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.27/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a Tulip glass

A- Pours out a super dark reddish brown that appears black out of the light. On top of the body is a nice 1 finger khaki head that's constantly replenished by a good amount of carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

S- Bourbon up front, vanilla, coconut, tobacco, leather, dark fruits, caramel, musty malts, grains, dark chocolate, Faded spicy hops, slight coffee, and definitely some heat from the alcohol in the finish.

T- Just like the aroma but so much more complex. Up front you get a lot from the double barrel ale, the grains and lighter malts. But as it goes towards the middle of the palate the stouts come out with dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, bitter coffee, and roasted barley. In the finish the barrels come out with a lot of sweetness from the barley wines. Tons of flavors like dark fruits, rasins, figs, caramel, but not as strong as the bourbon but believe it or not a stronger whiskey flavor. Also getting vanilla, musty oak, coconut, leather, tobacco and all the usual Firestone treasures. The alcohol is way more hidden and subtle than the aroma and is barely noticeable. The one flaw that I'm not happy about is the slight bit of oxidation that is clearly starting to takeover. Not sure what this will be like in a couple years.

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Photo of beerbully
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter

A-Little to no head, SOme lacing, black with some light penetration which creates a somewhat red hue. some mild lacing, thinner than I expected

S-Bourbon, dark chocolate, black licorice, cherry, traces of coffee, brown sugar/molasses, oak

T-very good. Woody oak is upfront, chocolate, hints of leather and tobacco, noticealbe bourbon flavor but not as prominent as it is in the nose. Some warming alcohol but not burning.

M-Thicker and creamier than it looks. smoooth Big complex beer. This beer builds flavor as it warms.

O-excellent brew. gets better as it warms so let it sit awhile before finishing.

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! Picked up a bottle at Joe Canals (really, how is this still on the shelf?!) when I went to get XV - I had it last year when Firestone Walker hit Pennsylvania but haven't had it since. Wow, this stuff is really really impressive. It pours lighter than a stout but blacker than a barleywine - there's some light getting through during the pour, but not much. Very little head but excellent lacing and retention. Smells like wet oak, toffee, chocolate, some faint coffee, vanilla; and of course, bourbon. After a year, alcohol is still quite prickly on the tongue. The beer tastes like an oak bourbon barrel sat in a sauna for 3 months and then was wrung out into a glass of Parabola - and as weird as it sounds, I mean that in a positive sense. The very sweet vanilla characteristics of the rather overhyped Parabola dominate, but there's a nice sharp alcohol burn and pleasantly low carbonation that provides balance to the whole experience. Wet oak, wet oak, wet oak. Some sticky toffee pudding and vanilla bean in the middle of the taste. A world class dessert beer - bravo to Firestone Walker! Can't wait to try the XV. If you have a bottle of 14, get your head out of your ass and go get it from the cellar - it's tasting mighty nice right about now and it's becoming clearer and clearer that Firestone Walker beers are best fresh, even when they're bigguns.

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Photo of pixieskid
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This thing was killer, glad to have tried it, enjoyed it much more than the 13th anniversary...could have been the fact it was aged a year.

Rich, creamy mouthfeel, nice carbonation.
Notes of toffee, dark and milk chocolate, espresso, hints of wood, vanilla beans, all melded together to create an excellent sipper.

Downside, a bit pricey, but enjoyed the pour I had and am glad to have tried it!

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Photo of jbakajust1
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4oz pour @ Bier Stein came free w/ full pour of 15.

A - Pours a deep brown almost black w/ garnet highlights, 1.2 finger brown head, good lacing

S - Smells of chocolate, roast, cherry, vanilla, oak, sweet toffee, and bourbon.

T - Chocolate, roast, sweet toffee, vanilla, oak, light brandy

M - Smooth, thick, chewy, warm, sweet finish

O - Very nice, complex, warming, too much to take it all in.

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 720 ratings