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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
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299 Reviews
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Firestone 14 - Anniversary AleFirestone 14 - Anniversary Ale
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
299
Ratings:
709
Avg:
4.33
pDev:
14.09%
 
 
Wants:
220
Gots:
547
For Trade:
26
View: Beers | Events
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Reviews: 299 | Ratings: 709
Photo of Thorpe429
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Galaxy Hut. Served in a snifter.

Initial pour (to near the top) is nearly black with just a few tan bubbles around the edges. No head. We'll see how it does with a good swirl or two after I drink a bit of it down. Judging from 11 through 13, I don't think that'll be a problem. Nose off the fairly-cold brew brings some nice bourbon, molasses, and fruit notes. It's not going to get any more fragrant this cold, so I might as well drink some...

First impression is a bit of light booze along with some rum-soaked dark fruits. As it warms in my mouth I get a touch of prickly carbonation on the back of my tongue. There's also some bourbon, light vanilla, and oak. Some roast there as well.

Body is medium with good carbonation and some definite booze. Drinks well enough but--at least at this point--doesnt reach the level of earlier versions.

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Photo of tang3nt
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bottle.
Pours a black color with a creamy tan head.
Very strong aroma of coconut and vanilla as well as a little brown sugar.
This beer tastes like desert - it's delicious! Very strong flavors of vanilla and coconut which work great together, as well as flavors of bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits (fig?) and unfermented sugars. A little heat, but barely detectable.
Not much carbonation, but about right considering the style.
Overall a very drinkable beer, barely notice the alcohol, very rich and well balanced. This beer is right up my alley and wish it was cheaper 'cus I would buy tons of it. I have 2 bottles I'm going to cellar, but not quite sure how well they will hold up, I think this is the best Firestone Anniversary I've had fresh.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11/19/10

Bottle split with my girlfriend. Appears much the same as the draft version: dark brown with a small beige head. This took a while to open up, but when it did the aroma was quite nice. Notes of caramel, toffee, bourbon, earthy hops, brown sugar, and chocolate are apparent. Alcohol is a bit stronger here. Overall, it smells good, but something is missing. Oxidation seems onerous compared to the keg, and the alcohol is a bit too strong. In the flavor I find notes of brown sugar, bourbon, toffee, caramel, oak, and a strong oxidation character coupled with powerful alcohol. Compared to the draft version, the booze and oxidation are much more apparent, and somewhat distracting. The various flavor components don't seem to meld as well as I'd hoped. Overall, it wasn't exactly how I remembered it tasting on draft, and it suffered for it. Still, a less good Firestone Anniversary is still a good beer. I don't think this one will age well. It seems like it would become more disharmonious, and though alcohol heat would wane, the oxidation is already starting off pretty strong and I don't see a solid foundation for it to build on. Though, I don't think 11, 12, or 13 have really aged for the better, so this isn't a new trend in the Firestone Walker Anniversary series, for me.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Stone IRS tulip

A: Pours relatively black with hints of brown when held up to the light. The head is a bit fizzy, but settles down into a light cream colored blanket.

S: Tons of brown sugar, maple, dark fig, bourbon, and alcohol. That raisin/dark fig really seems to stand out as the beer begins to warm up as well.

T: I can definitely pick up the "Double Double Barrel Ale" on the initial sip! Extremely fruity, especially on the dark end, with strong influences of oak, bourbon, and molasses.

M: Masterful! Full body with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: It's a little hot, but rather drinkable at this stage. The flavor profile is quite enjoyable as well, so all in all...a great beer experience!

Overall: To be honest, probably my least favorite of all the anniversary blends so far...but put together well. A must try. Cheers!

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Photo of boMD
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is from a pour I had on tap at Belmont Station during the FW 14 release party. Poured black with a thick, frothy, tan head. This head dissipated fairly quickly, and what was left was a cola looking beverage. Aroma had bourbon, vanilla and toasted qualities. Lower carbonation but still full bodied. Very warming, much like port or brandy. Roasty, with sweet cocoa and dark chocolate. Sweet malts, light floral hops, toffee, burnt sugars, caramel, toasted oak, tootsie roll candied sweetness, and an amaretto liqueur flavor that boosted the alcohol heat qualities.

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Photo of JustinA1
3.87/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared with ThreeWiseMen on 11/17/10. Poured into a Brandy Snifter.

A - Pours deep brown and turns pitch black in the glass with brown edges when held up to the light. Light bubbles grace the surface with a small head around the rim. Swirls to a burnt yellow with a half centimeter head.

S - Toffee, Malt Balls, Bourbon and Dark yet Sweet malts. Roasty with a bright nose.

T - Neutralized Bourbon with a light bitter finish. Frankly, hoping for more, Alcohol comes on strong and blasts through the lighter, milder malts without giving them a chance. There's an amber trying to break free. Finishes with a slight medicinal taste and a light hop bitterness.

M - Great, chewy, coats the mouth. Carbonation takes a back seat and allows the fantastic texture and viscosity to pervade. Alcoholic burn in the finish.

D - Lot of alcohol for a fairly mild-flavored beer. I'd give it time, but I worry slightly that age may accentuate some of the negative flavors. Will definitely try again in six months, though.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown and rather translucent. Almost looks cola colored and easy to see through. Virtually no head whatsoever, even with a somewhat aggressive pour into the snifter. Disappointing. Nose is rich with coffee, chocolate, and lots of caramel. On the palate it comes across with a slap of alcohol heat, gigantic caramel & bourbon notes, and some robusta coffee flavors. Finishes roasty, bourbon-vanilla, and boozey.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of Firestone 14 with my roommate, JustinA1, last night. We each reviewed the beer simultaneously, jotting down notes without saying a word, and then compared our thoughts afterward. It was actually pretty interesting. So interesting that we decided to pop a bottle of FW13 immediately afterward and do the same thing. Onto the review:

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Stout-like in color: black throughout with shiny red-brown edges when illuminated. Head didn't amount to much off the pour; a thin ring of tan bubbles was all, though it retained that form for the entire session. A good swirl builds a layer of orange-gold foam and showcases the beer's thick, somewhat oily body. (Really fun to swirl.)

Smell: Mixed nuts, toffee, peanut brittle, and cocoa powder lay atop a beautiful oak-bourbon base. Once again, Firestone has found a way to accentuate the beautiful complexity of oak bourbon barrels, while minimizing the associated alcoholic burn. Gorgeous!

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, molasses, and dark fruits kick things off. Raisins and brown sugar arise briefly in the middle, before the taste transitions into toffee and peanut brittle. Those final components linger deep into the aftertaste, where they're eventually accompanied by a slow, alcoholic burn. The flavor profile is actually much mellower than I anticipated, though it's very complex and balanced.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, a touch syrupy, warm, and dry. Filling and chewy, especially when swished. Mellow carbonation rounds out some of the sharp edges. A very rich and robust feel for a bourbon barrel-aged beer. Impressive.

Drinkability: Surprisingly mellow (in terms of flavor) for a Firestone Anniversary Ale. There was certainly a good deal of heat, though I wouldn't call this one harsh. If you've got multiple bottles, pop one now. I'm really curious to see how this one's doing in 6-12 months.

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Photo of lyletaka
4.82/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Again another great anniversary ale...I'll drive the 70 miles up to the taproom to get this stuff. Surprised to see other people on a Wednesday to be in line to buy this wonderful brew...and no wonder! Great taste and not as much sweetness as 13. My buddy and I enjoyed the brew and decided to play 27 holes with a sweet buzz. Looking forward to 15!!!

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Photo of youradhere
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had in a 12, 13, 14 Vertical.

Appearance is clearer than the 13, a dark brown with maroon and mahogany edges, red tinges the body in light. Smells of sweet beets, vanilla. Taste is cocoa, vanilla and oak; mouthfeel is drier and more tannic, bolder flavors that will mellow out with time I'm sure. Pretty drinkable, but the blend is young still and the flavors need some more time to take the sharp edges off.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #1500 here on BA. Certainly worthy of FW14.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with minimal off-white head formation.

S: Sweet milk chocolate and vanilla to open things up. Lots of bourbon, caramel, and brown sugar. There's a mild oakiness and coffee, too.

T: The amount of chocolate here is ridiculous. Sweet milk chocolate and an almost chocolate malt flavor to it which is just great. Plenty of bourbon and vanilla, but nowhere near as hot as the previous blends.

M: The body is medium with a low to moderate carbonation. Overall, this beer is just silky on the tongue.

D: I said to a friend that this tastes like a Bourbon Vanilla Chocolate Malt and I'm standing by that. Of the anniversary blends I've had fresh (or relatively so), this is the best.

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Photo of Dlish
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- a ruby dark brown, i was expecting near pitch black like 13, but being that there is as much barley-wine as there is stout it not surprising. The head pours thick with some good tan retention.

S- Once again Firestone does not disappoint with a wonderful aroma. I get a lot of bourbon, oak, vanilla deep coffee and tobacco. some very fresh aroma that are sweet and not as bitter as 13.

T- Wow this is a very barelywine inspired strong ale. Bet a lot of oak coffee chocolate malt a lot of tobacco, surprisingly not as heavy or chewy as I thought it was going to be from the smell. There is a coffee and fudge ice cream that kind of finishes out the palate. The burn from the alcohol unfortunately comes out in this years beer. It burns from the first sip. Although this burn helps the coffee flavors.

M- def not as chewy as 13 or parabola, surprisingly thin for what I was expecting. There is actually a large amount of carbonation that could account for a spreading of the flavors.

D- Another amazing blend by Firestone. I think Matt's written note to the costumer best describes the beer. Its a good mixture, and is not heavily based on any particular beer like last year. While the burn is pretty brutal now I have high hopes in a few months when it settle downs. The 12.5% is strong and within the first sip the alcohol haze starts to set in. Overall a beer to be enjoyed with friends or any other special event.

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Photo of stawn
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap @ Pizza Port Carlsbad.
Poured into a tulip (by request)

A- muddy black with a small ring of bubbles clinging to the edge of the glass.

S- dark fruits, caramel & mostly bourbon on the nose.

T- caramel, raisin & sweet bourbon. Some alcohol warming but not nearly as boozy as previous years. Lots of Barleywine characteristics.

M- velvety smooth, low to moderate carbonation. Appropriate for style. Alcohol VERY well hidden!

D- This concoction is dangerously drinkable. Smooth and masterfully blended. I could drink this anytime & often!

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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 nataku00
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a tulip glass. Dark brown beer with no head. Some orange tint at the edge of the glass when held up to the glass. Not quite opaque as I could see the shadows through the glass, but a nice looking color to this.

Nose is mostly dark fruits (figs and dates), with some oak and caramel malts accenting. Not quite what I was expecting.

Taking a sip, alcohol burn initially, but the taste follows the nose mostly, lots of dark fruits soaked in alcohol, with minimal oak presence on the tongue. Alcohol burn follows through on the tongue with light pine hops in the aftertaste.

Decently carbonated medium bodied beer, but it seems 14 could use a year to help with the alcohol. I'll probably get a bottle to age as there was enough good in this sample to see this turning into something special.

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Photo of jthor018
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours dark brown or black. Didn't really care. I got no head with either of my glasses.
S: Smelled delicious. Caught bourbon and alcohol.
T: Amazing. I know it is a mix of a bunch of beers but all I taste is alcohol and a stout. But better than a stout. If that makes sense.
M: Drinks like a fine wine or scotch.
D: I thought it was a sipper until I pounded that last glass like water. I could drink this all day long except it puts me on my ass.

I picked up 3 bottles of this with the hopes of aging at least one. I doubt they'll last through the week.

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Photo of Xul
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown with some deep ruby highlights around the edges, capped by a finger of frothy, pale beige head. Retention is decent for the style as it settles down to a thin layer of foam.

S: Wow...lots of lightly roasted coconut up front, bittersweet chocolate, toasted grains, vanilla, light coffee, some faint wood character, leather, some light tangerines around the edges. There's so much to smell here, I almost just want to sit and sniff it. Bourbon and brandy barrel notes are detectable, but certainly not dominant.

T: Starts with caramel and toffee before opening up into bittersweet chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla, light coconut and brandy. Some leather and wood come in towards the backend before a touch bourbon and alcohol heat come in near the backend, leading to a long, slightly warm finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with low, smooth carbonation...it could be just a wee bit thicker.

D: A sipper, but a sipper that I have to force myself to let sit for a few minutes between drinks. Absolutely stellar beer, I'm excited to see how this develops over time.

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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 Dreadnaught33
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Was very fortunate to try this excellent beer on tap at the new Rustico in Arlington, VA.

A: Black with brown shining through on the sides of the glass when seen up to the light. Nice head retention, tan colored head and very good lacing.

S: Wow, this is huge. Bourbon, lots of vanilla, oak, dark fruit like plum/prune, really malty overall. Awesome.

T: Lots of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, alcohol complexity, lots of malt, oak, chocolate, and dark fruit/figs. Very good, and I am really excited to get a bottle of this because with about 9months+ this will be even better, as it seems sort of young and a little hot, though the flavors are great and a little aging will make this an easy 5.

M: Heavy, coating feel, great. Low carbonation viscous stuff, I love it.

D: Very good beer, but hot right now as I said above. Wait 9 months or so before drinking this, yet this isnt too hard to get through at 12.5%.

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Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Toronado.

Firestone's new anniversary blend looks much the same as the previous two vintages: a blackened, nearly opaque amber-brown. The head shows surprising longevity given the style and high alcohol, though it does eventually dissipate completely.

What an outstanding aroma. There's an abundance of toasted coconut and vanilla, rich caramel, oak, a hint of milk chocolate. Despite 1/3 of the blend being comprised of neutral barrel Double Double Barrel Ale, there's no lack of bourbon and brandy character here.

Firestone's anniversary beers usually have some heat and harshness to them when they're fresh, but that's not the case with XIV; the alcohol is very reserved. I had this side by side with Parabola and Abacus, and to my surprise, XIV showed greater depth and less heat.

There's a strong caramel and bittersweet chocolate presence on the palate, with subtleties of vanilla, coconut rum and brandy shining through. Oak contributes light tannins that cut the sweetness slightly, though it remains a rich and heavy beer. Alcohol is nicely integrated, a mild heat that balances rather than detracts.

Carbonation is at a lower-moderate level, just enough to give the palate a light scrubbing. The body is full, but not syrupy by any means; Firestone is excellent about making rich beers that aren't cloying.

While I still need to try this from the bottle to get a better feel for it, numerous glasses on tap leave me with the impression that this is one of the better anniversary blends.

Addendum: A better beer on tap than out of the bottle, though bottles are fairly good.

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Photo of Destral
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance:
I picked up several of the new 14 bottles earlier tonight and decided to crack one open. It poured pitch black and opaque into a DFH goblet. A thin, tan head quickly dissipates but moderate lacing remains.

Smell:
Toffee sweetness dominates. There is some faint vanilla amd oak aroma, but not nearly the vanilla as the 13. There is some noticable alcohol on the finish.

Taste:
I get a lot of oatmeal stout flavors from some of the base beers (Velvet Merkin and Parabola). The beer is very nutty and creamy. Toffee isnt as strong as the aroma, but definitely noticable. Oak flavors become more apparent as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel:
The 14 is very smooth and silky. The light carbonation and full body really make for a creamy feel.

Drinkability:
Overall I think the alcohol is very well hidden. I really enjoyed the amped up oatmeal stout flavors that were present instead of just big boozy RIS flavors like i've recently been enjoying in Black Tuesday and GI BCS. 1 bottle was just right for a good evening.

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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 2LCrew
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thank you to the Firestone people for bringing their beer to Stone. I had a 4 oz. pour of 14 at the outside bar. It was a packed house and everybody was enjoying Parabola, 14, 13, etc. A great time.

A- When poured from the tap, it was dark brown and I couldn't see through. The head was minimal.

S- I gave it a smell and there was not much there. I do not know if it was the air outside or what but I was expecting a little more.

T- Amazing. For a blended beer, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Had a little bit of alcohol taste to it, but it wasn't bad.

M- Smooth.

D- I could enjoy a glass or two of this.

Depending on the price of the bottle, I may pick up a bottle.

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Firestone 14 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 299 ratings.
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