Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
Liked This Beer
4.36 w/ 1,115 ratings
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.

Added by brew3crew on 11-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 1,115 |  Reviews: 315
Reviews by CrellMoset:
Photo of CrellMoset
3.79/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle - same gorgeous packaging we've come to expect, and the only potentially over the top packaging I don't really mind - poured in to a 22 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours light, surprisingly light ... for a FW Anniversary beer, that is. Though the base of so many has been Parabola, the base of this one seems to be part blonde barleywine and one part English barleywine, explaining the (relative) translucence. That's not to say it's transparent - it's most definitely not - just that it doesn't become entirely opaque until the snifter is about 50% full. A deep, rich mahogany hue, this one settles out of the bottle fairly quickly, dripping down in to the snifter at a steady pace. The moderately vigorous pour yields a good finger of tawny head with decent retention for a 12.5%, barrel aged brew, though within thirty seconds only a collar of form remains, and after a good 120 seconds, that collar has nearly dissipated entirely. Swirling doesn't do much to this one either, but I'm not disappointed - it's inching up on 13% and spent years (plural, cumulatively) in barrels, so who's complaining?

Aroma: Certainly this beer's weakest aspect. I really get very little out of it, save a harsh astringency and some estery alcohol notes that don't do much for me. Especially while chilled, there isn't much volatilizing off the surface, so all one gets is sweet, light malt notes, faint, high fruits, and harsh chemical notes. Really, the more I stick my nose in to it - even as it warms - the less I get from it. Truly unfortunate.

Taste: A very barleywine heavy flavor, and why not? Moderately roasted malts and a slew of solid hop flavors and bitterness provide the backbone of this beer, balanced by some heavier nutty, toasty, and fruity notes that dance in and out of the edge of one's senses.

First, the two big beers here (in terms of their share of the overall blend) are a blonde barleywine (wonderfully named Helldorado) and an English barleywine, and it's very obvious. This one showcases a slew of brighter, lighter notes up front, not just on the malt front - not just golden honey-like malt, bright, soft, sweet, and simple, but also roastier notes reminiscent of biscuit, cracker, graham cracker, light brown sugar, and caramel. There's also a nice amount of fruityness here, The bitterness associated with the barleywine components here (also, I should not that there's an American barleywine in the mix) lends plenty of balance to the sweetness, with a spicy, leafy, slightly citrusy hop presence that lends plenty of kick.

There are plenty of other notes here: a strong nuttiness abounds, likely the result of the Imperial Brown Ale that's dancing around in here somewhere; darker malt notes, cocoa and prunes and raisins and beautifully ripe plums courtesy of the Parabola and the Velvet Merkin (or Merlin); and understandably a beautiful array of spicy fruit cake notes and earthy, wholesome bourbon overtones. None of it's too strong or powerful, with the two actually balancing one another fairly well and neither providing too much kick or spice. Probably this beer's best aspect.

Mouthfeel: Bright, buoyant, and vivacious, with plentiful but creamy carbonation to counteract the sweetness, but enough sweetness to hold the effervescence together in to a milky, frothy, foam. It works really well, actually - it's always amazed me how smooth blended beer can be, with the sweetness and residual sugars providing enough heft and weight and stickiness to keep the carbonation tight and compact, but the carbonation in turn providing enough lift and airiness to elevate what might otherwise be a fat, heavy mess.

Drinkability: Is this the best FW Anniversary Ale? Most definitely not. In fact, I imagine that when the chips fall, this will have received the lowest rating that I've given any of them (and I've had all save the X), and I don't believe that's a byproduct of palate maturation. A huge discrepancy between the nose and the mouth on this one - if they'd tweaked the nose and made it a bit more robust and less harsh (and the two likely would've gone hand in hand) - and, indeed, this beer was really all over the place in a number of ways. Usually, I'll identify a beer that's all there in terms of recipe (the aroma and taste are out of this world), but the process has fallen short (and the appearance and mouthfeel are shot). Or, the opposite problem will happen, and someone will have the process down pat, but the substance sucks. This one seems to exemplify some of the challenges associated with blending beers well - the final result is going to be a little all over the place, with the pros and cons of all the base beers, in conjunction with the pros and cons of all the secondary and tertiary interactions amongst the constituent components. That being said, it's still a pretty solid beer (though perhaps not at the price point), but for any fan of the series I'd suggest it a worth addition.

 4,959 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of gcamparone
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

 737 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.89/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

 916 characters

Photo of MtnSoup
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
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...

 299 characters

Photo of oberon
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Cole's last night.Poured into a goblet a deep dark chocolate brown with a minimal head.Deep oaky and vanilla notes in the nose mixed with deep chocolate and alcohol,it's boozy but not in your face boozy.Mellow and thick in the mouth with chocolate and whiskey flavors dominating,some vanilla and sweet booze linger in the finish.A great sipping beer,complexand smooth.Great stuff!

 394 characters

Photo of abeerdude
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of SanFranJake
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of delaced21
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep dark mahogany, slight head, decent lacing. A great looking beer.

S - Caramel, vanilla, oak and cherry. Mild bourbon.

T - Caramel, vanilla and bourbon just like the nose. Light oak notes. A nicely blended malt and hop character. Perfect balance.

M - Very smooth and with light creaminess. Barely any carbonation. Goes down quite smooth for the booziness in the nose.

O - Wow, I really enjoyed this beer. I can't see were all the negativity is coming from on this one. It is a little pricey but I think it's worth it. I can't wait to see this beer in a year. Should be an A+ then.

 599 characters

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of tadoor
3.49/5  rDev -20%
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.

 304 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.07/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours brown with a medium creamy light tan head that goes to a thin film and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is sweet dark fruits (plum, raisin) and vinous alcohol.

The flavor is sweet sugary dark fruits with some strong harsh alcohol in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little watery with low carbonation.

Overall, decent, but too sweet and boozy.

 383 characters

Photo of imagery
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of bishopdc0
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of megamass
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of mctizzz
3.75/5  rDev -14%

Photo of aquazr1
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Juan611
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of BigE90
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of chossboss
4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Spotupfor3
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of standardcherry
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of mjtiernan
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93.5% out of 100 with 1,115 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.