Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
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Style:
Strong Ale - American
ABV:
12.5%
Score:
97
Avg:
4.39 | pDev: 10.48%
Reviews:
323
Ratings:
1,134
From:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  165
Gots
  725
SCORE
97
World-Class
Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
Notes: 18% Helldorado (11.7% ABV) Blonde Barley Wine.
17% Sticky Monkey (12.5% ABV) English Barley Wine.
17% Bravo (13.5% ABV) Imperial Brown Ale.
13% Double Double Barrel Ale (11.5% ABV) Double Strength English Pale Ale.
11% Good Foot (14.3 ABV) American Barley Wine.
10% Velvet Merkin (8.6% ABV) Traditional Oatmeal Stout.
9% Parabola (13% ABV) Russian Imperial Oatmeal Stout.
5% Double Jack (9.5% ABV) Double India Pale Ale.
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Reviews: 323 | Ratings: 1,134 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage; drank 2/3/15 @ California Split.

Murky brown/red appearance.

Minimal tan head; decent lace.

Marshmallow, vanilla, mild banana & mild booze heat in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Brown sugar, caramel, vanilla & mild booze heat flavors; a great dessert beer.

Jan 01, 2020
Photo of Noah_Aimar
Noah_Aimar from Oregon

4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Opened 11/24/19.

I suggest drinking this beer now to anyone who still has a bottle or two. The alcoholic burn that I'm sure was a big part of this beer when it first came out is basically gone now and the beer has mellowed out a little bit too much. It was still very enjoyable but the flavors were all a bit more muted than I'm used to tasting in Firestone Anniversary Ales. I'll let the other reviews above and below mine get into the sensory details, I just wanted to encourage those who see this to drink now.

Nov 24, 2019
Photo of Zythophile
Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Date: 2011
Palate Contaminants: none

This is just one of those things that you simply think doesn't exist, and then it does. That said...

Please, please, please, please, please... PLEASE let this still be okay.

It was cellared by a good – nay, outstanding, exceptional, and superlative – beer shop. So, I have my hopes.

Small amount of medium-fine carbonation, very little lacing. The color is brown-red. So far, so good.

I'm really encouraged by the scent. The main ones up front are cloves and figs. Medium intensity. There's also some sweetness connected to molasses. Cola nut, too. It doesn't volatilize any more than necessary. Now, for the biggie.

There's some goodness left, but I'd guess it's had better days. The primary flavor is a woodiness that's akin to nut husks. Even more clove flavor, spilling over to what I'd call an herbal nature. Dates more than figs. Sweetness is moderate-heavy, but it has to compete with some sort of bitter liquor taste that I haven't encountered before. So, overall the flavor is good, but it thins out toward the end, leaving me to think that there used to be more to matters. I'm used to alcohol fading into the background with aging, but if everything else exits, I suppose it can make a comeback.

It's not nearly as heavy as its successors. Good quantity of medium carbonation left, and it's not really prickly. Although present, the alcohol isn't sharp. The nut husks and cloves are the main flavors in the aftertaste, although burnt sugar is in there.

All things considered, I'm happy. This had might as well score a 4.9 for how memorable it is.

Jun 08, 2019
Photo of EMV
EMV from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Cloudy/opaque mahogany brown pour with thin fizzy off-white head. Falls fast... very thin rim of lacing.

S: Sweet and boozy... brown sugar, caramel, and toffee mixed with fruit.

T/F: Follows the nose. Sticky sweet and boozy. Vanilla, caramel, toffee, plum, cooked raisin, and fig. A little spice... bourbon coming through as it warms. Definitely warming... medium bodied.

O: Lots going on with this one... but a big slow boozy sipper. This has aged pretty well... was probably better a bit younger but the aged product is still delicious. A nice dessert after a rough day on the job.

Mar 19, 2019
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Seven year old bottle, properly cellared and poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark reddish orange with a quarter finger khaki head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of dark toasted and caramel malt, dates, raisins, cocoa, bourbon and oxidation. Flavor is caramel malt, mild toasted malt, dates, raisins, light cocoa, vanilla and bourbon and a little cardboardy oxidation. Toasted malt reappears a bit more in the finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Very interesting; this version has dropped off a bit from the full maltiness of any other Anniversary I've had. This leans very much towards an English/American barleywine blend, with very light stout character. Compared to the 14 I had a few weeks ago, this is considerably less malty and less integrated, with more sharp fruit notes. This has admittedly been aged a bit longer than I anticipated and has held up quite well, but I would not add another year to this one. One more from this era to go (16) and I'll have caught up to all versions of this. This is one of the stellar blended strong ales, but this one shows it's limits with long term ageing.

Mar 18, 2019
Photo of bobv
bobv from Vermont

4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bomber at cellar temp.
Moderate to vigorous pour yields a 1/8 inch light tan that is down to a ring in a few minutes. Very dark brown, almost black, body. Nose of dark malt, dried dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, and bourbon. Taste mirrors nose very nicely with abv noticeable, but not so much in your face. Being a blend of eight strong beers, you know it should be complex, and it certainly is. As it warms the bourbon comes forward a bit in aroma and flavor. Nice feel for a 7+ year old and overall, a real nice treat. Cheers!

Jan 21, 2019
Photo of emyers
emyers from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into teku glass

Dark amber-brown with a half inch fluffy off white head

Nose: bourbon, rich caramel/toffee, vanilla. Hints of dark fruit. Interestingly a decent amount of herbal hops sneaks in toward the end which was unexpected.

Taste: similar to the smell. Strong caramel and bourbon character. Barleywine and quad components definitely dominate the profile. Flavors meld exceptionally.

Mouthfeel is crazy smooth. Body is on the light side, liquid silk. Finishes semi-sweet.

Mar 17, 2018
Photo of rudzud
rudzud from Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up a long, long time ago. Not sure why I held on to it...

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice clear, albeit super dark chestnut hue with a thin half finger tan head that fades somewhat quickly to leave a thin wispy blanket. Decent legs.

S - Aromas of biscuits, toffee, fairly strong metallic twang, little bit of burnt caramel, maybe a little bit of old slightly spoiled dark fruits.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Thankfully the metallic qualities are gone. Light creamy coffee, toffee and caramel, little bit of toasted malts, flashes of anise. Nice almost acrid roast from the RIS. Little bit of oak and some creamy bourbon. Malty with just a little bit of molasses. Very pleasant.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit on the sticky side, rather light on the carbonation. Leaves an almost thin but sticky mouthfeel. Not a fan.

O - Overall while the aroma and mouthfeel have certainly dropped off hard on this the taste is still very enjoyable. Still...with the way it's drinking now it would be an absolute chore to get through an entire bomber solo.

Serving Type: Bottle

Nov 08, 2017
Photo of tadoor
tadoor from California

3.49/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fitting end to SF beer week. I found this in the back of my beer fridge. I did not intend to age this for 5 years+ but it's still ok. Looks like pond water after 5 years but still has a slight hint of molasses on the nose. All of the strong flavors have faded . I should have opened this two years ago.

Feb 21, 2017
Photo of JayQue
JayQue from Virginia

4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one I let age for 5 years. Still an awesome brew, but I would not hold one that long again. Pours a clear dark brown color with reddish highlights throughout. Very small, fast fading off white head. No lacing. Strong aroma. Oak is still prominent after 5 years. Elements of a barleywine and a stout. Malty, with strong caramel presence. Taste is very good. Oak bitterness and rich malt, like a stout but with some toffee and caramel and bitterness (from oak) like a barleywine. Mouthfeel is rich with a fairly strong alcohol presence. This one must have been really "alcohol hot" when fresh! I really enjoyed this one.

Sep 07, 2016
Photo of raynmoon
raynmoon from Colorado

4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Looks like absolute trash in a glass, but tastes like heaven. Another great one from the barrel series by firestone. It's not quite the beer that 18 and 19 are, but this one is also 5 years old, so it is hard to tell.

Feb 29, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark beer, more black than brown, beige head just under half an inch. Aroma was complex, bourbon, chocolate, citrus, molasses, vanilla, char, brown sugar, caramel.

All of that in the taste, sweetness is there, darker, brown sugar sweetness, the chocolate is of the dark variety. The helldorado is excellent, the most obvious of the blend. Definitely a sipper. Plenty of toffee. Take your time, and sip it slow, something this good you gotta make last. . .

Dec 20, 2015
Photo of MtnSoup
MtnSoup from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Still drinking wonderfully - little to no heat compared to fresh, but toffee/caramel flavors are really at the forefront as opposed to any intense barrel flavor. Last one I have, but I'd imagine with proper cellaring conditions this one would continue to develop, but I'd not wait too much longer...

Sep 28, 2015
Photo of DrMindbender
DrMindbender from South Carolina

3.83/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I shared a cellars bottle of this strong ale this past Saturday...upfront, this isn't my favorite style of beer but thought it was a good, not great, beer for its style.

Sep 22, 2015
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy from Florida

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sipped on a bottle of this on my first visit to Brouwers in Fremont. Pours pitch black with a creamy brown head. Huge earthy coffee aroma with lots of roast and chocolate and big bourbon notes, then more coffee. Flavor is a massive punch of coffee, super earthy, but big sweet tones of chocolate and lots of oaky bourbon coming through. Silky and rich mouthfeel, medium carbonation. One of the best beers I have ever had. Alongside Bourbon County Coffee for me, and perhaps eclipsing it. Beautiful!

Aug 14, 2015
Photo of ThrewRedButter
ThrewRedButter from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Dark, murky ruby red with half a finger of tan head

S - Dark fruits, figs, caramel, toffee, bourbon

T - Heavy malt presence with toffee/caramel. Really sweet bourbon and a lot of brandy. Very subtle milk chocolate and coffee.

F - Very smooth, little carbonation. A slight warming, but no real booziness

O - Definitely an English barleywine with toffee and caramel, but also some nice dark fruits and plenty of bourbon make for a ton of flavor. Maybe not as complex as other Anniversary Ales, but still great.

Jul 31, 2015
Photo of Nickcal
Nickcal from Rhode Island

4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was good but could have been better. Bought it from my local liquor store. They had been aging it ever since. Don't know if this beer was the result of bad cellaring or what. Like I said though really a top shelf beer but would have liked to try when it had been released to compare. Stunk of booze but tasted medium bodied with a clean finish and no alcohol heat.

Jun 26, 2015
Photo of crob3888
crob3888 from California

4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter and allowed to warm to 55 degrees. Poured a dark mahogany with some hints of ruby and a small tan head. Aromas and flavors are super complex. Lots of alcohol heat; German chocolate cake, coconut, oak, honey liqueur, orange zest, chocolate covered cherries, bourbon and Brandy, brown sugar, toffee, and some ripe dark fruits. Mouthfeel is full bodied with light carbonation. This is essentially a massive Barleywine, and it's a treat to enjoy it 4 years after the fact. Probably could have lasted another 4 in the cellar but I got anxious.

Apr 27, 2015
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Georgia

4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark garnet brew, relatively clear at the edges, with a light cream head. OK retention, reducing eventually to bubbles and sheen. Little lacing.

Bourbon and oak complement an American Barleywine aroma: caramel and toffee, earthy American hops. A touch of port.

Flavor follows: it's big and up-front, very similar in flavor to SN Bigfoot. Lots of toast, burnt caramel, and hops.
The back third brings smooth, semi-sweet chocolate and coffee beans to go with vanilla. Flavor really starts to get complex at the end.
Bourbon and oak dance throughout, but they're relatively subdued.

Extremely bitter brew, fairly hot, but very drinkable for 12.5%.

This is a very nice brew, complex and in your face. Being heavily skewed toward barleywines, I don't like it nearly as much as 17, which was much more stout-influenced.

Reviewed with over 3 years on it, which likely contributes to a weaker overall bourbon presence.

Apr 12, 2015
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gcamparone from Rhode Island

4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Firestone Walker Proprietors Reserve snifter.

Pours a deep brown, chocolatey body that, once in the glass is deep black and opaque. Off-off head rises a couple inches then reduces to a small layer of foam, leaving blotchy lacing.

Aromas are delicious and inviting, vanilla cake and butterscotch upfront, heavy bourbon and caramel, slightly nutty, molasses.

On the tongue is caramel and brown sugar upfront, bourbon and vanilla on the follow through, slightly roasty on the finish. Slight hops on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is kinda thin, medium carbonation.

Overall it started out nice but I think this may have fell off since bottling. Thin and weak on the palette. Nonetheless an enjoyable drink.

Feb 23, 2015
Photo of mxchap
mxchap from California

4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

FW Anniversary 15 (enjoyed on 1.27.15)

Appearance: Murky brown on first look, holding up to light reveals a gorgeous, rich array of reds and orange. Almost no head, tight ring of bubbles around the surface. Minimal lacing [3.75]

Aroma: Strong caramel and bourbon/vanilla presence. As it warms some alcohol/solventy aromas appear. Also some cherries and much more of a pronounced barleywine/quad feel [4.25]

Taste: Caramel and toffee big time, strong bourbon/vanilla contribution. Slight bit of solventy alcohol heat on the end. (warming effects the same as aroma). [4]

Feel: Sticky almost (big time sweetness). Carbonation is just right and up front. As it fades it yields to a nearly cloying sweetness (but not too much). The heat on the back end cuts through the sweetness. Interestingly I preferred this beer chilled. [4.25]

Overall: A hell of a beer. Surprsingly cohesive considering the blend, but very enjoyable [4.25]

Jan 28, 2015
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky from New York

4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a Firestone Walker tasting glass.

A: Clean and clear with a pretty red-orange color.

S: Great nose! Bright fruit. Wine-like complexity.

T: Oh goodness, very good! Pretty balanced, actually. The aftertaste especially is rather bitter, almost hoppy-bitter, with a lot of pale-sweet malt. You can really taste the paler barleywine (& DBA) influence.

M: Carbonated even still, with smooth sweetness. Well balanced.

O: A really phenomenal beer all-around. Highly recommended. Would love to have again.

Jan 17, 2015
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Phyl21ca from Canada

4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a dark hazy brown color ale with a medium size off-white foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of woody whiskey notes with some light residual sugar and toffee notes is extremely satisfying. Taste is also dominated by woody notes with some whiskey notes and toffee and caramelized sugar. Nice balanced between the sweetness of some of the base beers and the dryness of the whiskey barrels. Body is pretty full with good carbonation and warming notes. Very well put together with some good complexity.

Jan 04, 2015
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From shared large bottle on 8 Dec. 2014.
Body is smooth but a bit too thin and, despite plenty of aging, there is more alcohol harshness than ideal
The multiple brews used to compose this blend nicely yet leaving lots of subtle omplexities.
Tasty and not challenging, with a nice component of dark fruity.

Dec 08, 2014
Photo of StoutSnob40
StoutSnob40 from California

4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

So much bourbon on the nose. Almost like it is entirely barrel-aged and not just a blend. But it smells very complex and boozy, with a ton of toffee. As it warms, tastes of tons of vanilla and hot alcohol. It's the perfect beer to pair with a cigar.

Nov 28, 2014
Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 1134 ratings