Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - 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:
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.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 321 | Ratings: 1,130
Photo of Zythophile
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of EMV
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of bobv
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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!

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Photo of emyers
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of rudzud
3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
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

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Photo of tadoor
3.49/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

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Photo of JayQue
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of raynmoon
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
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. . .

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Photo of MtnSoup
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
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...

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Photo of DrMindbender
3.83/5  rDev -12%
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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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!

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of Nickcal
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of crob3888
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Roguer
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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Photo of gcamparone
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of mxchap
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
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]

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of StoutSnob40
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red-tinged brown, pretty lacklustre, just a pool of cream-coloured bubbles on the side. Lace is quite thin.

Smells intensely sweet. Mega vanilla with peanut brittle, toffee and peanut butter. Smells like sweet, caramelised nuts more than a beer really should. But, you know, nuts.

Taste is also very sweet. And nutty. There is a distinct nut character throughout - peanut and pecan with toffee crisp and caramel. Touch of roast on the back, but it's like the kid who asks to join your football game some 10 minutes from the end, it's already a foregone conclusion that this is a sweet beer and that roast kid ain't gonna make much difference. Really enjoyable though.

Bit boozey and warm. Nice body but a bit of ethanoic tickle.

Tasty, sweet desserty beer. That roast, you know, the forgotten late kid, it actually balances a bit. Still unnecessary, because the flavour's still nice, but it's there.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Opened a bottle of this on 02 May 2014. Drink at room temp....the colder this was, the more flavors were muted, but as it warmed closer to room temp it really really opened up nicely...either that or I got more drunk! Either way, it was great! Not really gonna go into the finer points of this beer, but the overall finished product is flippin great. No problems with this beer at all.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 1,130 ratings