Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale
718 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: 718 |  Reviews: 303
Photo of emsoud726
4.8/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Managed to snag a bottle of this in Jersey - tough to come by in PA even though distribution just opened up here.

Poured into a Gouden Draak snifter...I think that did it justice. Poured rather dark, woody brown.

The nose was one that made you know exactly what to expect, toffee, bit of alcohol, candy sugar, bit of wood/earthiness. I'm not a huge fan of pointing out particular scents as they might change based on whatever is around you, so you be the judge.

Mouthfeel was a tiny bit boozy but nothing overwhelming. I'll comment with taste on this, but compared to say, the Bourbon Barreled Angel's Share from Lost Abbey (which was great) it was incredibly smooth.

The taste, very simply, matched the smell of this beer. Toffee, candy sugar, bit of oak (considering the fact that this was the blend of a ton of oaked beers, the 'bit' was surprising). Great stuff.

This was some awesome stuff. The brilliance of the blend is equaled by the taste of this beer. Really hope to get my hands on another bottle.

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Photo of bum732
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Rich toffee, burnt caramel, some dark fruit, some bourbon and oak, dark chocolate as it warms.

L: Dark black, off-white head that dissipates to a ring of foam.

T: Rich toffee up front with just a hint of roast. Medium low herbal bitterness leads to more rich toffee and bourbony oak. Finishes semi-sweet with toffee and bourbon oak, but restrained by the oak dryness. A very hint of roast throughout.

M: Medium mouthfeel, medium low carbonation, some alcohol detectable.

Fantastic beer, definitely malt forward with some oak and bourbon restrained. Would like a touch more roast to round out the flavors. Why other breweries don't blend their beer is beyond me, this is an amazing example.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.23/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured into my classic Founders Glass tulip a dark brown mahagony color with a tan head. LOTS of aromas in the nose of molasses, dark chocolate, vanilla, toasted oats, dark fruit, bourbon, and the boose heat. Medium mouthfeel, very velvety and slick feel. The taste is just as complex as the nose. Dark fruit notes in the front with a creamy vanilla flavor as well. Very complex. The barrel isn't dominant but there as well. This is solid. Warming heat from the alcohol.

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Photo of mothman
4.03/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Peter for sharing this one!

Poured into stone snifter. Pours a light layer of khaki beige head. Color is a deep copper hued brown.

Aroma: Oaky and vanilla. I definitely smell the black xantus. Chocolate and roasted malts. Some coffee. Very sharp. Whiskey or bourbon flavors.

Taste: Oak and bourbon here. Lots of chocolate and cocoa. Roasted malts and coffee. Some dark fruits. Vanilla. Parabola and Black Xantus flavors. A bit of heat.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and roasted. Velvety. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends a bit dry and roasted.

Overall, this was a pretty solid anniversary beer. Very enjoyable. I like the barrel flavors. Nose was a bit weak, but the taste made up for it.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.35/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark reddish beer that looks almost black in a dimly lit room. Tan head that left some stick on the sides.

S - Decently hot, with barrel, bourbon, chocolate, and oak. Even though it smells a bit hot, I actually likes this quite a bit.

T - Taste is great. While there is a decent bit of alcohol heat in there, the caramel, vanilla, oak, and barrel flavors in this are really nice. A little bit buttery, even hot I think this is good. Can see it being flat out awesome with a little age.

M - Nice carbonation, smooth, caramely, good stuff.

O - Great beer, I'm a huge fan of this and in doing the vertical I think this was actually my favorite one, even with it being as new as it is.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
4.62/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

173 reviews and the lowest is a B-. Finally, some consensus on a beer: we all think this is a good one! :)

Honestly, I had low expectations for this beer. I'm not sure why, but the box it came in and the information sheet that was included just seemed to be setting me up for disappointment, as if it was all too good to be true. Thankfully, the Firestone Fourteenth Anniversary Ale is quite simply put, the bomb.

THE APPEARANCE was one of the lowest points for me in that I couldn't seem to achieve much head when pouring into two different glasses. The dark brown beer resembled maple syrup, in some ways, which was interesting and made up for the lack of foam. There is also thick, goopy lacing with this beer which just seems to scream "aged and intense!"

THE SMELL is of very strong bourbon, chocolate, oak, vanilla, and alcohol. It is very complex and quite difficult to isolate any one particular aroma.

THE FEEL is thick and creamy. Nice and full, as it should be for such a beer.

THE FLAVORS, as the smell suggests, are very complex and varied. For me, it went like this: bourbon aged stout -> chocolate -> coffee -> chocolate. Incredibly, there is a good amount of coffee detectable as well ("Incredible" because a coffee-flavored beer only makes up 3% of this blend, according to the information sheet provided). This an extremely sweet, highly alcoholic beer. However, it is easily the smoothest, most drinkable bourbon-barrel beer I've had, and I bet it would hold it's own against the best of the rest. It's just amazingly drinkable. Because the overall quality is sweet and it is only slightly hoppy I can see many beergeeks frowning on this one. I think this beer has something for everyone though. In fact, it reminded me a lot of sherry, so I can see this beer having huge cross-over appeal for wine drinkers.

THE ONLY DOWNSIDE of this was the price. $20 seems a bit steep for a regular old brown glass bottle and standard, metal crown cap. The box and information sheet came across to me as justification for the high price. Deschutes charges half that for their aged beers and they probably carry a better reputation. I would value this at $15, max.

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Photo of BigB415
4.16/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Normally I would buy a single beer for $21.99 but I had a special occasion to celebrate so I figured why not? and so far I am not regretting it. I have never had an anniversary beer from FW so I didn't know what to expect going into this but that's fun part.

Pours very dark red. I hold it up to the light and I can see red where the light shines through in the corners of the glass. I would of guessed black.

Smells of molasses and other things I can't quite put my finger on.

Tastes sweet. I get pears which is very good. I know pears is an odd thing to get from a beer but everyones taste buds are different.

Overall I really like it, besides the excessive alcohol burn. Being this is my first anniversary beer from Firestone Walker I can't compare the 14 to the previous vintages but then again every year might be different but I'm not sure. I would just like to get another and have one with some age on it. Unfortunately I wouldn't buy another one at $21.99 unless I had another special occasion to celebrate but by the time that happens FW15 will probably be out.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, map room - chicago

appearance: served in a chalice at the map room -welcome to Chicago Firestone Walker. dark oily body - light tan lace

smell: rich and chocolatey, booze soaked plum

taste: rich dark fruits, fig, oak barrel, vanilla, bourbon, bakers chocolate, toffee, licorice. FW 14 packs a punch but not before it delivers its well rounded flavor assault

mouthfeel: rich, full bodied, lingering alcohol presence

overall: lovely

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

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.

Dark hazelnut brown with an average sized head and a little lacing. The aroma is bold, with scents of vanilla, oak, leather, roasted malt, alcohol, and tobacco. This is some tasty beer. Very complex, masterfully crafted and balanced, this beer would make a great addition to the cellar, as it would almost certainly age gracefully. Drink now or age, Firestone Walker 14 is a great beer to share a few ways.

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Photo of ManuelHerrera
4.79/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...Firestone, how are you today?

Potentially one of the most overrated breweries in the country, Firestone's specialty beers keep churning out incredible experiences in beer.

Firestone 14 pours a deep chocolate brown with little head and lacing. The aroma can be smelled from a mile away, and boy is it incredible. Thick toffee and chocolate aromas mixed with a smooth maltiness. It's a blend of bourbon sweetness and a big FAT oak.

The flavor is just as complex and freakin' magical as the aroma. Dark cacao bitterness laced with a singe of hop edge and syrupy malts makes this one hell of a heavy beer. Yet Firestone doesn't mess around, it made a smooth beer that challenges while going down with buttery smoothness. The beer is thick on the palate but ultimately extremely enjoyable.

Holy beer gods this one's a doozy.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on-tap @ The Foundry, Kansas City, MO, into a snifter

Pours a silky looking sepia brown with some dark reddish highlights. You certainly can't see through it, but it's also a lighter shade of brown that I expected (given the amount of imperial stout in the blend; the barleywines win out in terms of appearance). Over one finger of lightish khaki head sits on top. Little head retention, but that's OK. Pretty nice looking glass of beer.

The first attack of the nose is all barrels and booze. The french oak is unmistakable, and the beer is (unfortunately) not at all shy about showing its ABV%. Vanilla from the oak, and some other kind of sweetness that is hard to place... something like an Almond Joy candy bar? A small bit of chocolate malt character, some nuttiness for sure, and a small amount of coconut. Some caramel comes into play, too. Nothing really original coming from the nose, but it smells like a consistent beer (and not the Frankenstein's Monster hodgepodge that blended beers can be).

That coconut I was picking up on in the nose is certainly present on the tongue. Almond Joy for sure: milk chocolate, nuttiness, plenty of toasted coconut sweetness. Vanilla too -- those oak barrels are up front and heavy -- along with some astringency. A small, small touch of leafy hops are discernible. As the beer warms, the alcohol muscles itself into the room. I had to ask my bartender if she knew what barrels were used, because I was picking up a major spirit character. The combination of coconut and toasted sweet flavors and the bit of brown sugar that opened up, along with the alcohol, makes me taste a bit of rum. If you like run or coconut-chocolate bars then this is the beer for you.

The mouthfeel is fine. It isn't very thick, actually, but it is pleasantly smooth and silky across the tongue. Good stuff, overall. I am not the biggest coconut fan, but I can recognize how good this beer is. It's best trait is that it is remarkable smooth and balanced for its style, and that it tastes like a coherent, cohesive beer. It doesn't taste like a blend of many, many beers. It tastes like a singular vision. The blenders at Firestone Walker are to be commended for this.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.77/5  rDev -14.3%
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 jimmy82063
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Brandy snifter (for good cause)!

A) No head or lacing at all. A little nice lightness around the edges from the top but looking at a very dark brown at the bottom.

S) Bourbon and Vanilla, little bit of coffee.

T) Jackhammer, this one comes at you big time. To me this is part Quad, part stout and part barleywine!

M) A little hot!

O) I am kicking myself for not picking up another bottle to cellar. Will sip this for a while.

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Photo of veinless
3.57/5  rDev -18.9%
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 baybassboy
4.29/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with fellow BA'er JoeHo92385. Poured into my Stone IRS Specialty "Tulip". Reviewed from notes and a distinct lingering in my mind.

A: Pours a dark, completely opaque, deep chocolate brown (almost black). A little bit of red in the light. Sits with a chocolately color in the glass with zero head. No lacing. A bit of red around the edges when held to the light. A very small amout of moch head forms on swirl, but quickly dissipates.

S: Chocolate, mollasses, and a very faint bit of alcohol. I was pretty darn happy just sitting there, swirling, and smelling this beer. Makes me long for the first/next sip.

T: Much more carbonation than i anticipated after a no-head pour. Tastes almost exactly as the smell lets on. Chocolate and mollasses, but not too sweet at all. Very little alcohol... just enough to remind you that this is a big beer.

M: Surprisingly dry, with little mouth coating. Like I said earlier, more carbonation than the appearance would let on.

O: I was very sad when we finishied this beer. One of those beers where the sips get smaller and smaller as you approach the bottom of the glass. I am interested to see how this one ages as it already tastes to be quite well aged. I really can;t wait till I get to have this one again.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.34/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22oz bomber.

A - Pours a nice mahogany color with some darker hints and a thin light tan head that recedes quickly to a thin ring around the glass.

S - Delicious aroma! Wow. Molases and caramel sweetness, oak and vanilla some slight burn and a nice . There is some slight fruit juice sweetness as well. Pineapple notes and some slight citrus hop is perceivable on the back end but its very very slight. Wow the aroma is complex. Similar to some Barleywines. This beers aroma is near perfection.

T & M - Taste starts off with the sweetness. Some woody notes behind it. Caramel and molasses as in the nose and some slight vanilla spice as well. The burn is more prominent in the taste than the nose would indicate. The burn last a while and finishes the beer dry. On the back end there is some slight hop notes and some nice woody dryness. There are also some slight roasted notes to the malt profile in these beer but they take a backseat to some of the barrel aging. The beer seems to straddle the line from Strong Ales, Old Ales and Barelywines. Pretty good beer that yes could use some time but still delicious.

O - Great offering from FW as always. This blend is delicious. Although it could benefit from some aging.

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Photo of impending
4.24/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Petaluma Taps. Looks thick. Dark, no head, little lacing, little carbonation.

Smells thick. A cornucopia including nutmeg dappled eggnog. Very nice.

Tastes thick. Vanilla, toffee, bourbon and oak. Warms most excellent, wonderful long lingering aftertaste.

A true sipper.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.39/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Andy for sharing this pricey bottle. Poured into a tulip. This one appears a very dark brown with a small layer of light tan head. It doesn't retain well but gives some sticky lace.

This one is layered with lots of different aromas. Chocolatey bourbon is noticable with underlying aromas of licorice, mollasses and plumbs. A little bit of a coffee aroma rounds this one out. The flavor follows the aroma nicely. Dark roasted chocolate malts. Bourbon is noticable but only trace amounts, giving this one a bit of toffee sweetness. A touch of dark fruity sweetness to this one with a nice dark roast coffee flavor.

Really a thick chewy feel on this one. This has a nice and robust body with soft carbonation. Overall this one is complex to say the least. Really enjoyable and unique. I'm really glad I had the chance to give this one a shot. Even with the high ABV and robust body this one is thouroughly enjoyable. A real nice sipper.

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Photo of andrewinski1
4.27/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to try this one after having Parabola. Poured into a tulip. Very dark color but when poured you can see the amber color as the stream of beer goes into the glass, so it's noticeably lighter colored than a stout. The head is about a quarter inch thick and doesn't retain except for several bubbles.

The aroma is full of sweet chocolate and vanilla with mild notes of maple.

The taste is full of rich chocolate and notes of vanilla. I get a lot of bourbon in the finish that yields a good amount of oak flavor with it. There is a good complexity here that I really really like.

The mouthfeel here is really spot on. It's a little light and airy. The carbonation feels a little soft, but not quite creamy.

I really enjoyed this one. It has a good drinkability for its strength. I'll have to make it a point to track down more Firestone Walker beers.

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

Pours a dark, cola-like brown, minimal head from moderately aggressive pour. Scent brings burbon and oak to the front, hints of vanilla, earth, anise, brown sugar and some fruity hops to boot. Taste is not as dark and aggresive as expected, but immediately reminded that 30%+ of this beer is a English Pale... the burbon barrel aging imparts vanilla and oak and not a big booze burn, lightly sweet with brown sugar, hints of anise and cinnamon, earthy and lightly fruity hops present. All in all, while not overly aggressive, the craftsmanship that went into blending this beer and making it as smooth as it is can not be passed over... while the individual components can be picked out, the beer is at its best when you are not searching for the parts. Fuller side of medium body, could have used a touch more heft and carbonation. A very good beer I am glad i had the opportunity to purchase.

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Photo of mjn5036
3.7/5  rDev -15.9%
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 DavoleBomb
4.04/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to piclee for this.

3.5 A: Black color. Aggressive pour yielded about one finger of frothy beige head that fell quickly and left no lacing.

4.5 S: This is simply jampacked with licorice. So much licorice that just about every other aroma is hard to pick up. Candied plum is the second most apparent aroma, followed by chocolate, a mild bourbon, and oak and vanilla. Behind all that there is raisin and tobacco, prune, a mild roastiness, and caramel sweetness. Speaking of sweetness, this is indeed quite sweet overall.

4.0 T: Taste is good, but isn't as impressive as the nose. Again, there's lots of sweetness. Big caramel component, which is heightened by syruppy boubon booziness. Less fruity than the nose suggests, but there is still a decent amount of plum with lesser amounts of raisin and fig. Light roastiness with some oak and some vanilla and a bit more chocolate. Moderate to high-moderate booziness.

3.5 M: Heavy mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation, but it isn't as spritzy as I'd like. Also, a bit chewier than I prefer. Big creaminess, but a still present booziness reduced the smoothness a bit.

4.0 D: Before this, the only anniversary beer I had was the 13 - and I thought it was a horrid mess. This, though it also lacks a clear direction, comes together much much much better. Flavors blend well and the booziness isn't too overwhelming. I bet this will be a lot better in a couple years. Probably not worth the $20, but definitely worth a try.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.3/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An expensive beer to be sure, now tasting it I wish I hadn't traded away one of them. A quant tan head appears atop a deep garnet maroon body. The head fades the deep garnet stays. Such a scent, jammy figs and pommegranite, molasses, sweet white oak and vanilla. Expert blending has created a singular beer. Port marinated fig, jammy raisin and sweet bourbon and vanilla. Chocolate notes and leathery goodness play second fiddle to these other huge flavors. This 14 is silky smooth with a hit of alocohol on the rough of the mouth. Otherwise there is no indication of the strength of this beer other than the pleasant haze I sit in whilst I drink.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.24/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 16oz growler fill of this earlier today.

a - Through the growler and in my glass a silky shiny black. Poured into a CCB snifter and had no head no lacing, not much other anything beyond a shiny black liquid. Swirling in my glass brought the beer to life a bit, but it was short lived.

s - Licorice, chocolate, booze...booze...booze.

t - Roasted chocolate malts and licorice and fairly boozy. Quite tasty though.

m - Pretty smooth for such a big beer. Carbonation was there, but not lively. Left an alc tingle in my mouth.

o - Overall a pretty great beer, but one that can be a bit intense fresh. I'm glad I have a few bottles to sit on for some time.

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Photo of hopluva1
4.65/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served @ 50 degrees in a brandy snifter.

The pour is dark copper to brown with a trace of red. 1/2 finger tan head falls quickly.
Aroma is sweet coffee, bourbon ,and a little bit of raisins.
The flavor is where this beer shines. It has 6 distinctly different barrel aged beers blended together harmoniously. There are bourbon and brandy vanilla notes, as well as coffee, raisins, and some chocolate. A bit of alcohol helps clear the palate for your next drink. With all the flavors present it still finishes remarkably clean.

Craftsmanship is on display with this beer!

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.4 out of 5 with 718 ratings
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