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 jamie2dope
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Man, crazy beers have been showing up on Massachusetts shelves lately, this being a prime example. The packaging here is fantastic with the box and blend detail. The color is black, with some brown hues around the edge of the glass. Not too much heading here, though I am not too surprised given the ABV, and mix of different beers. I get toasted coconut first and foremost from the smell, followed by oak, vanilla, chocolate, and a hint of dark fruit. The wood character in the flavor is remarkable, starting off with a hit of alcohol and molasses, and ending on a dark cherry note. More coconut comes through, as well as malted milk balls. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, as it should be fir a beer of this strength. This is definitely one to sip, and let explore the palate, because it seems to change every time. I guess the crazy complexity here can be attributed to the blending. The alcohol is very noticeable in this beer in flavor and effect, but again, it should probably be sipped like a liquor. It took me the better part of an hour to finish one glass, but every sip was enjoyed immensely. From the Anniversary series I have had 11, 12 and this one, which may be the best out of the three. Either way, the blending here is no joke. It truly adds a level of complexity that is tough to match.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.64/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark almost black with no head when arrived at my table

S- hops liquor and malt. Smells amazing.

T- BOOZE. godly booze and cocoa note and dark fruit notes. Awesme hop finish

M- so smooth. Almost no carbonation

D- so good. Heavy booze taste and chocolate taste. I need moremore

3 of these got me trashed... as seen by my review.. still a great beer

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Photo of perrymarcus
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served in a snifter.
bottled date: 10/25/10

pours an opaque dark brown, sits a pitch black in the glass. 1/2" head fades to a thin, khaki colored collar around the glass... middling retention (not unexpected) and decent lacing. overall a solid looking brew, though nothing about it really stands out as exceptional.

aromatic nose is decidedly malty, offering strong notes of molasses, vanilla, oak, some hops, and a big bourbon presence. great aroma.

wow. hugely complex flavor profile follows the nose; just a ton going on - unsurprising given the blend (FW double double barrel ale, sticky monkey, parabola, velvet merkin, good foot, and black xantus). molasses, vanilla, oak, hops, bourbon, all shine through in one of the more complex beers i've had in a while. significant bitterness and a warming boozy kick to the finish.

smooth, velvetey full-bodied mouthfeel; oustanding there. the archetype of a sipper; drinks almost like a cognac.
carries a hefty pricetag, too. not something i'd buy on a regular basis but worthy of a once-in-a-while, special occasion purchase.

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Photo of Naugros
4.37/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap in a stemmed snifter at Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell, NJ.

A pretty beer with a translucent, porter-like color and the foamy film that resides on top of the beer throughout most of the experience. But other than what you see, the first and most lasting experience is the smell. Vanilla and oak come off immediately and give a sense that the sweetness of the malts wanted to make bourbon but were tricked into becoming a beer. Lucky for us.

This is one of those rarities in the beer world; the taste not only delivers the promise of the smell but even exceeds it. This is one sweet, complex concoction with vanilla, oak, bourbon, a nuttiness I couldn't peg, minor dark fruit and a roasty bitterness thrown off from the dark malts. The alcohol heat is prevalent from the first sniff to the last sip, but it does not detract from the experience and even serves to accentuate it. The beer is smooth and clean with a nice, clean finish. This is quality! This should lay down nicely if I can get my hands on a bottle.

At my favorite watering hole I don't always take my time with a beer. I want to get a good sense of it, write my review notes and then try whatever else they have that night. I stuck with this one all night and even kicked the keg. Not only was I content sipping this beer at the bar, but I also realized that nothing that I tasted after this would get a fair shake. It is so flavorful that nothing else would be able to make any impression on my palate for the rest of the night...and that is happiness.

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Photo of Spider889
4.3/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My biggest prize from my first trip out to Chicago. Easily the best bottle presentation I have ever seen for a beer - it's packaged like a fine scotch in an embossed full-color box. Inside the bottle has a paper insert with a message from the brewery and on the back all of the details about the beer blended for this ale.

I only wish that they had used the textured paper I found on the Double Jack and Porter used on the bottle itself.

Live review on a cold rainy February night. On the eve of my second trip to the windy city. Can't wait to see what I find next...

On the pour the beer initially looked a fairly clear cola color, but quickly it collected in the bowl of my snifter to form an impenetrable black. It wasn't hard to coax a two and a half finger tall creamy head out of this brew. There's some meager spots of lace, but otherwise the beer wound up too thin bodied to leave anything significant.

The smell is right up there with the best barrel aged beers. There's strong bourbon elements like that of a BB strong ale along with deep mixtures of malt and barrel-aged stout. As it warms the alcohol becomes more apparent, and long inhaling reveals a more biting alcohol, more akin to whiskey - but perhaps I am detecting the brandy barrels used in the "Sticky Monkey" part of the blend.

From a slight distance the beer smells more inviting. The snifter serves to focus the smell, and if I inhale a few inches from the lip of the glass, as opposed to putting my nose directly inside, I can smell much sweetness. Toffee and vanilla are both strong. Lighter notes of licorice and leather emerge, as well as a peppery hint of chipotle. Light char and dense American oak round it out.

An even deeper inspection pulls forth sour cherry and the sweet innards of still-moist dates. The bourbon comes through again, strong, very strong - young and high volume.

The taste is another thing of beauty. The bourbon and brandy barrels lend strength, warmth, and sweet complexity to the flavor. Light hints of chocolate and pipe tobacco lead into vanilla and oak, followed by hop bitterness and dark fruit sweetness. The finish grows more bitter, along with increasing properties of bourbon.

The mouthfeel is very warming, but never harsh. Medium bodied, with a lingering finish that grows drier over time thanks to all the oak aging.

This is a sipper, but it's certainly enjoyable in every respect. I savored the whole bomber myself. It felt selfish, but then again,after I carried this and another 40 lbs of beer over a dozen blocks, and then babied all the way back to Ohio, this was a $21 treat I needed tonight.

Worth every penny, though take out the packaging cost and I wonder how cheap this beer could really be.

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Photo of kwjd
4.5/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown colour, but not quite opaque. Thick tan head that has nice retention. Some nice lacing down the glass. Smells of brown sugar, vanilla, roasted malt and chocolate - there is a lot going on in this beer, quite complex. Some bitterness in the flavour, but there is more sweetness I think. Very smooth mouthfeel. I loved this beer and would buy it again in a heartbeat if I ever see it in a store.

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Photo of Retsinis
4.52/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I Have had this beer as part of three separate vertical /horizontal tasting events of Firestone Walker Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, & Parabola. All of which took place in the last 4 months. One was at an apartment with beers from my, and a fellow Beer Advocates cellar, the other was at a bottle share at Instant Replay in Canoga Park, CA. The third was hosted & served at Blue Palms in Hollywood, California.

I compiled notes from all three events, before I reviewed this beer here, to be as fair as possible to something that is rare, released once (for each anniversary) sought after, aged, and to a degree hyped as well. Also, each event I had 3-4 oz of each beer, and I felt I needed to try them again to better evaluate them, (also considered storing conditions affecting the beer.) Since I have now had about 9-12 oz of each beer in totality, I feel I can post my humble opinion of them in a review.

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Bruery Tulip glass (was a large Brandy snifter AND on draft at Blue Palms, but a Bruery Tulip at the other two tastings)

The beer pours a deep, dark, brown with a violet colored hue that can be seen when held to the light. Good carbonation, with a murky light brown head that rose about a quarter inch that faded to just a nice lacing and a ring of carbonation on the edges.

The scents on the aroma are very inviting, and distinct. I get smells of chocolate, wood, oats, tobacco, and vanilla.

The flavors in the taste do not disappoint, and I think Firestone Walker is only getting better at blending these beers each year. I initially get a chocolate sweetness upfront, followed by, tobacco, and some light bourbon notes. On the second sip, and in the middle, I get vanilla, wood, bread, some oatmeal, and heat. A great beer fresh, glad I got to have this so many times fresh for this years too. This beer has the most blended to it from the brewing notes, so I think there is a lot going on that will only come more to the forefront with some aged on it.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, with low carbonation, and is a little sticky. Great sipper though.

Due to the price, limited release, ABV, and the fact this will hold up to aging, this is not something you would drink a lot of in a sitting (unless you bought case after case of it, and if you did, congrats to you)

If you can, seek it out though. Either in a bar event, bottle share, or to purchase, it will not disappoint.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, some lace, a moderate sized head. Some sugr, tasty, drinkable, a dry finish. Bourbon in the aroma, lots of roast, alcohol burn. An imperial dry stout.
Fuller mouthfeel. A very nice sipper, though I do not seem to have enjoyed this as much as other anniversary editions.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.49/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650 ml Bottle poured into my De Struise glass... Dark brown pour with a hint of crimson. A very light tan head leases a thick finger cap, ok lacing... The star of this beer is the aroma, perfectly shows the greatness of barrel aging. Vanilla with super smooth bourbon, molasses, dark fruits, a hint of oak and chocolate. Main player is the vanilla accented by the bourbon. Outstanding!... The taste has the same elements but isn't quite as successful. Same flavors but more oak, more alcohol very spirit like, and a touch to warm. More oak and dark fruits come through, loses a lot of the vanilla. Still good just not as smooth or sweet, hurting the drinkability a bit... The mouthfeel is nice, a little warm but nice, good carbonation. Easy to drink.

This is really good, much better then 12 or 13. A steep price tag but worth it.

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Photo of argock
4.72/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a 10oz goblet/snifter at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Black with some brown highlights at the edge with plummy, light brown, 1/2-finger head with persistent crusty lacing.

S: Molasses, herbal-earthy hops, cocoa, and dark fruit like figs, and plums accented with a mild berry-cherry alcohol note. Smells delicious and much less ABV than what is stated.

T: Very luscious brew with a decided molasses note that is sanded down smooth with the blending. The cocoa and softer coffee notes really work well with the strong plum, fig, and date dark fruit flavors. The hops component is less prominent than in the aroma, but still contributes an ample punch of earthy goodness. Alcohol is a clear player, but it is not overwhelming or overbearing. FW 14 comes off as a masterfully calculated creation, and tasting it makes me wonder how many iterations of blending they went through to pull this exceptional ale together.

M: Velvety smooth and decadent with predictably low carbonation. The body is full on full but not a 30 lb bomb either.

D: One of the best 3 or 4 brews I have tried so far this year, and that includes PtE and Citra DIPA. This on-tap sample makes me almost tempted to go after a bottle, even at the ungodly $21.99 price tag. Decisions, decisions...

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Photo of champ103
4.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Dajtai007 and wolffman17 for sharing a bottle with me.

A: pours nearly opaque black, with some brown around the edges. A two finger beige/kaki head forms with really good retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: A big malty aroma. Toasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, toffee, light coffee. Some wood lingers as well. Very nice.
T: I can't get enough of the big toasted malt flavor. So well balanced with vanilla and toffee. It never gets over barring or cloying. A very nice wood flavor lingers on as well. I love it.
M/D: A full body. So smooth and creamy. Big lushes and velvety. The best part. So easy to drink. Just a bit of heat, but a real treat to sip on. I wish this would never end.

I have had this several times now. Overall, another excellent beer From Firestone Walker. I think Parabola is just a bit better, but this is truly exceptional. I love it, and highly recommended.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
4.83/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tall snifter. Bottled 10/25/10 at 13:34.

Pours an inky black with a big, two fingered light tan head that drops within a few minutes. Lacing evident. Surprising for the high alcohol and barrel aging.

Aromas of bourbon (oak and vanilla), some cocoa, coffee, dark roasted malt, licorise, but oak and vanilla dominate.

First sip is of vanilla, oak, alcohol heat, not able to pick out any particular hop flavor, dark fruits, rum raisins, prunes, licorise, slightly sour. Very multi-dimensional brew. Finish is long and hot, plenty of bourbon notes, vanilla and oak tannins.

Mouthfeel is medium/heavy, with a thick, sticky, viscous, almost oily consistancy. Warming alcohol. Tannins are mouthcoating.

Very drinkable, complex brew. Almost like a sipping whiskey. Very nice effort.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.63/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for Spider889 for buying this for me on his trip to Chicago.

10/25/10 11:01 stamped on the neck. Poured into a snifter, as suggested by the description insert found in the box.

A- Deep, inky black body with visible weight to it. The head can be coaxed out to about 2 fingers in height. Its a sandy off white in color that creeps up the sides of the glass as it subsides. It leaves only a thick collar that throws small spots against the walls of the snifter.

S- Licorice is very strong, especially after a deep swirl. Second in line is a nice, rich cocoa along with dark fruits that border on that found in dark Belgians. Alcohol is very potent, its nearly stinging. A fresh oaky aroma encompasses everything.
I was really hoping for a little bit more here, its lacking a little bit of complexity. It does open with warmth, but its muted until about the 50 degree mark.

T- The taste is a huge improvement from the aroma. A nice bitter sweet blend of licorice, dark chocolate, fresh oak, vanilla, brown sugar, dark fruits and a flash of citrus on the back.

Sweet molasses and brown sugar kicks things off on the tip of the tongue. Oak is close to follow, and rightfully so, after reading the descriptions I see that there is a LOT of oak being used in this blend. The earthy, woody barrels blend into a deep fruitiness with licorice on the back. The finish is pretty strong on anise with a squeeze of citrusy hops to round it out.

This is quite the sweet tasting beer, but its so damn well integrated and very complex. Truly exquisite.

:EDIT: Coming back into this review a good 2 hours after opening this beer. Once its had the chance to fully warm the finish really comes alive. What was at first a strong licorice and alcoholic finish has settled and opened up into a very tobacco laden, milk chocolate melange. Sure, the alcohol is still there but it has been enveloped by the pipe tobacco, chocolate and brown sugar. A true work of art. Damn.

M- Upon the first sip I jumped ahead and marked this a 5 for mouthfeel. Typically the mouthfeel improves as you drink and the carbonation escapes a bit. This could be an exception to my rule though. The carbonation is already pretty low right out of the bottle. Now that its died down even more its nearly flat. The body is very full and chewy with a stickiness left on the lips. The alcohol is not ashamed of itself at all. It really comes alive on the swallow. Even though the carbonation has died a bit to much, its still an easy 5 for the feel.

D- Big, assertive alcohol keeps you sipping on this one. But thats a good thing. Finishing this bottle quickly would be a disappointment.

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Photo of billyshears
3.94/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: dark black body, surprisingly big bubbles around glass. not much head otherwise. minimal lacing. none too pretty.

s: vanilla/coconut notes from the bourbon. darker fruits and malts and also some lighter english malts and toffee which i assume is from the english pale and english barleywine, alcohol

t: starts off with sweetness and bourbon notes. bitter finish with a dark roast and coffee notes. there's an odd transition for the light malts to the dark malts on the swallow. the way they go together it tastes like banana type sweetness with the light and then goes onto chocolate in the dark. chocolate dipped bananas are still pretty good though. its interesting how the switch is so evident. Not sure if just getting drunker or it just needed to get quite warm, but towards the end of the bottle it seemed to fuse a bit more cohesively.

m: thick mouthfeel that froths due to much carbonation goes down pretty smoothly.

d: well, i drank the whole bottle. sip though.

I was unsure how I was going to feel about this beer at first, but I did end up enjoying it. Is it as good as past blends? Maybe not, but I appreciate that it is a bit different and that it's still worth trying.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
3.51/5  rDev -20.2%
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 goethean
4.8/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tiny black ring of foam. mostly flat. flavor is a blast of malt and oak. somewhat hot. not super fruity. some roasted malt and grain. a sipper at 13.5 abv. quite a bit of very dark chocolate. complex hints of coffee and whiskey. hugely full bodied (but not as much as Bell's Expedition). finish is of alcohol burn. not a hop in sight. literally sticky with unfermented sugars. with some aging, this could be frighteningly good. insanely dense and potent.

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Photo of Axic10
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've gotten quite a few of these of the last few months, so I apologize for not giving the appropriate credit for this. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours dark brownish with a finger of khaki colored head that settles down to a thin layer that hangs around for a while.

Smell: Wow, this has a great nose on it. Oak, leather, vanilla, toffee, caramel malt, roasted malt and even some dark fruits. Slight alcohol burn as well.

Taste: Sweet malts (from the barleywines), vanilla, chocolate, oak, bourbon, plum, brown sugar and molasses. Very complex taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and really smooth.

Drinkability: Really really enjoyed this beer. I have two more bottles and probably will be looking for more.

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Photo of emerge077
4.32/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby/garnet hue in the light, otherwise appears black. Initial pour summoned a half inch of tan foam, which subsided fairly quickly into a thin ring and spotty lace.

Aroma was really nice, fried plantain, brown sugar, plum, dates, and figs. Rich and slightly sweet, with a slight trace of alcohol when swirled and deeply inhaled.

Sweet and sticky with a medium heft to it... long lingering aftertaste with oaky presence. Rich flavors of dark fruits: fig and plum, dry oak tannin in the back, with a bit of bitter dark chocolate from the Parabola. Vanilla surfaces from the bourbon barrel, and there's a bit of distinct bourbon flavor faintly in the back too. The blend is well done, it's very smooth and one to sip for an hour or more. Booze is in check, though certainly present. Overall very nice, hope to also try on tap before it's all gone.

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Photo of koopa
4.18/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Shop Rite Liquors in Chester NJ.

Appearance: Pours an attractive dark brown to black with a 2 finger slightly off white crown that displays good retention and some lace.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, a nutty quality, a hint of soy, and some brown sugar, and a hint of ethyl alcohol.

Taste: All of the above but the ethyl alcohol doesn't come across as much. Finishes a bit bitter though.

Mouthfeel: Nice aspect of this brew...Medium bodied with ample soft carbonation.

Drinkability: Very high despite the abv which kicks you in the teeth a bit.


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Photo of Gmann
3.95/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown color with a short dense khaki colored head that settled into a light ring.

The aroma is sweet with toffee notes, candied fruit and some hints of oak. Very malty aroma. Aroma is alright, not a big fan of the candied fruit notes.

The taste is of caramel, honey, and toffee. Loads of sweet malt upfront. Some brown sugar, wood, toasted pumpernickle and seasame. Some vanilla from the barrel aged parts of the brew as well as some bourbon soaked cherries. Loads of different flavors going on, perhaps a bit too much as it is hard to focus.

The beer is well bodied with prickly carbonation. It is big and malty so it is a bit sticky. This is all malt on the palate.

One big beer for sure. The flavors are great and new ones seem to pop up as you drink. That said it is a bit heavy handed on the various flavors and the ABV is enough to take down a hippo so the drinkability is limited. Nice beer.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.12/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Solomon.

Rare live tick. Haven't reviewed in a while, though I have a few backlogged.

Pours black into my tulip with a good one finger foam that fades to a ring, very little lace. Revived a bit on subsequent pours. For some reason I decided to open this decadence by myself....

Tons of rich charred barrel, molasses, brown sugars, caramelized, deep developed flavors here. Vanillias, bourbon barrel, Very Complex, but pretty heavy at the same time. The first glass was enjoyed but the real weight of this beer came through on subsequent pours. Not overly boozy, just a slight hint in the finish and a touch in the nose as it warmed. Mostly just heavy due to the immense richness and boldness of the flavors here. More and more I'm getting rich complex caramel flavors, really mouth coating like a werthers. Touch of bitterness and ends a touch lighter but still robust. Another great blend but really lends itself to being shared.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.29/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick deep mahogany color with a nearly non existant head. Soon after the poor there were just a few spot bubbles around the edges of my pint.

Smell of heavy leather, vanilla, oak, toffee

Taste of a great vanilla presence, mixed with healthy vanilla oak, sweet rich caramel that would come off a caramel apple. There is a healthy fruit presence underneath tobacco, oak, vanilla, cocoa, toffee, white chocolate and caramel although the other flavors are so prominent that it is just hanging out in the background ; innocent bystander. Bourbon even pokes its head out although it is light and doesn't fight the vanilla flavors as much as some other strong ales out there aged in bourbon barrels.

Thick mouthfeel, very low carbonation and overall well put together and a sweet mixture of barrel aged brews that I can easily say is worth trying. Luckily I didn't fall into the trap of paying the ridiculous prices being charged in CT for this one...

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Photo of corby112
3.9/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown color that appears almost black and completely opaque with faint mahogany edges when held to a light source. One finger frothy beige head that immediately fades into a thin lasting ring. Not much in the way of lacing.

Earthy, leathery aroma with sweet bourbon booze and a prominent barrel character. Hints of oak and charred wood mixed with toffee, biscuit, caramel and dark fruit notes. Subtle earthy pine notes as well as some chocolate malt, roasted coffee bean and tobacco.

Chewy full body with a sweet bourbon booze flavor up front along with a rich, silky malt profile, earthy hops and an earthy/leathery character. Slightly dry with a decent amount of warmth in the finish but not nearly as hot as expected considering the high ABV. The barrel character is evident but not completely overpowering. The aroma suggested a lot of charred wood but thankfully it's more balanced. There's some soft carbonation with subtle bourbon flavor and hints of vanilla that eases the earthy wooden tones. This beer is blended very well and thankfully isn't a bourbon bomb. Leathery malt smoothed out by luscious chocolate, oatmeal, caramel, toffee and biscuit. The spices from Sticky Monkey are evident with hints of brown sugar and cinnamon, adding some more sweetness. No too much so, however, balancing out the wood/leather notes from the barleywines. Subtle smokiness with faint hints of roasted espresso/coffee bean and toast. I'm also picking up some vinous dark fruit, especially grape, dark cherry and raisin. Dry finish with subtle tobacco/cedar notes and slight warmth.

Overall, this beer is very complex with an excellent blend that creates great balance, resulting in a pretty quaffable high gravity beer. I enjoyed sipping this bomber over the course of a couple of hours and picking out it's subtle nuances. My least favorite of the FW anniversary beers I've had so far but still pretty good.

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Photo of KAP1356
4.29/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml. bottle purchased by the girlfriend poured into a Weyerbacher tulip glass...

A - Pours a deep mahogany brown, almost completely opaque, but just a little light shines through. A nice, creamy, eggshell white-brown colored head forms about 1/2 a finger thick.

S - BIG notes of creamy, sweet milk chocolate right out front. Caramel, bourbon and vanilla follow next. Also notes of some sweet, dark, sticky fruits add nicely to the overall nose. Reallly smells great and very complex.

T - Bourbon, brown sugar, caramel, some dark fruits and LOTS of chocolate at the end of the palate. Dry with some slight earthy hops. Just a bit of coffee coming out too. Some maple syrup or molasses also seems to be in there. Very complex and the blending seems to have been perfectly done.

M - Very smooth and creamy. Medium bodied. Some moderate carbonation which I think is perfect for this beer.

D - For the ABV, it is very drinkable. There is some slight alcohol heat and sting in the throat, but overall this one was well done.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.19/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle into a couple of snifters. Thanks go to HopDerek for sharing this one with me.

Pours a pitch black, topped with about a ½ finger of fizzy dark mocha head. This rapidly dissipates from the glass, basically not having much in the way of retention or leaving any lacing back. I guess this wasn't too surprising, considering that this often happens in the case of barrel-aged beers but man, this did disappear fast! VERY warm bouquet on this, with notes of chocolate, toffee, fruit, molasses, coconut, brown sugars, and charred wood. There a lot of complexity here and the flavors themselves have a smooth integration but that big ABV and barrel character definitely leaves its mark here in the nose.

The taste is as fierce and complex as the aroma was, with thick sweet notes of chocolate, molasses, vanilla, dark fruit, and brown sugars that get roughed up a little on the edges by a darker presence of coffee, roasted coconut, and a deep burnt smokiness. This finishes with a dry parching tannic feel that consumes the palate. The barrel notes are very well integrated and blended here, as the flavor just seem to effortlessly flow in and out of each other. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a prickly effervescent carbonation that fills the mouth. Make no mistake though; this is definitely a BIG BEER that forces you to take your time with it. Things do get a bit stinging although it isn't thankfully enough to interfere with the flavor profile.

What can I say, another year, another awesome anniversary blend from Firestone Walker. As other reviewers have noted, this was a noticeably sweeter than previous ones thanks to the Double Double Ale and Sticky Monkey making up the bulk of the blend but there was plenty of darker character to be had here as well. Like I said before, this still seems a little too raw and hot right now but I'm hoping that some time in the cellar will help tame this beast down a bit.

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