Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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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.

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Reviews: 314 | Ratings: 1,112
Photo of baseball1976
1.31/5  rDev -69.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I had this on tap at Papago Brewing in Phoenix. It was recommended by one of the workers. I was put off by the price, but when others around me said that it was quite good, I gave in and got one. Let me say, I wish I had passed.

It came in a snifter, so I knew it was going to be strong. Here is what I thought:

A - looks great. I love a dark beer, and dark this is.

S - I was put off by this. The first warning sign. It did not smell appealing at all. It was almost as the beer was spoiled. It just had a unique smell.

T - Not good. All I could taste was bitterness and alcohol...and lots of the alcohol. The aftertaste was better, almost sweet, but the alcohol lingered and was not enjoyable.

MF - well, if I did not enjoy the taste, there is not much sense to go into any further detail here.

Overall - a let down. I was expecting the holy grail of beer and what I got was something loaded with the taste of alcohol. Chaulk it up as a loss.

Sadly, I think I am the only person who did not like this.

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Photo of caskstrength
2.22/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2nd bottle I've had. I wish I had only bought one. (or none)

Pours a cola brown, adequate carbonation. Looks sort of thin.

Smells are dr. pepper with some cheap bourbon (or Southern Comfort) thrown in. Some esters come through (didn't like those in Abacus either). No richness or deep dark smells.

Tastes are, not surprisingly, dr. pepper with some cheap brown spirits thrown in. A warm mixed drink sitting on the table you tried a few hours later after the party, just for shits and giggles. Simple brown sugar sweetness with some poorly matched alcohol is not what I was expecting here.

Thinner than it should be, but it matches the thin flavors, so at least it's consistent.

Poured it out. This beer is a failure. I didn't have Abacus fresh, but whatever went wrong with that beer over time went wrong here in spades.
I guess I'm not a Firestone Walker barrel guy, so more for all you.

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Photo of podunkparte
2.25/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I love FW 14. I realize every Anniversary beer is different altogether, but I had high hopes for 15.

Poured into a 12oz New Belgium snifter.

A: Deep dark red when held to the light. About a 1/2 finger light tan head that disappeared quickly. Barely any lacing at all. Meh.

S: Dry, unsweetened toasted coconut. That's all I get

T: Hint of an initial sweetness to begin that never delivers. Gives way to that trademark coconut flavor that was delicious in the 14 (accompanied by great sweet and roasty flavors) but is sadly revealed to not stand on its own here. Once you swallow that coconut flavor is gone and you have no aftertaste but a bit of strange dryness with a lingering alcohol essence. I compare it to tasting a very high alcohol vodka. Very disappointing. I find myself not looking forward to the next sip and that's sad.

M: Thin and dry. Nothing to really say here.

O: Sorry, but this is not a good beer. There's no depth, no character that I found in Parabola, Abacus, and FW14. Too dry, to thin, too uni-flavored.

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Photo of crusian
2.67/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

All these positive reviews... I had to chime in.
Bottle from awesome girlfriend from Boston.
Going to skip all the pleasantries.
Nose is nice, I can actually pick out ipa, barley wine, oak. Nice.
Taste is not good. It is boozy and messy. A huge disappointment. I loved 13 and 14. This one is not good. I do taste the oak, vanilla, and it is nice. After you get through that, it is a mess. Tastes like a really hot oak aged barley wine. I am having a hard time drinking it. It will be good in a few years, absolutely. I feel that this is getting rated higher due to price and that it is a firestone anniversary beer. Huge let down.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.07/5  rDev -27.9%
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.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.12/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of Nanoslug. Thanks!

A: Pours a dark maroon body with good clarity. A half-finger of tan head develops upon the pour, but it doesn't retain or leave lace.

S: A dark fruit-dominated beer, giving off a bouquet of figs, plums, dates. Bourbon barrels are prominent, as well as a treacly port note. Brown sugar, caramel, molasses. Some orange zest. This reminds me heavily of Firestone XIV on the nose. It's pretty hot, with a noticeable singe.

T: The taste is more muddled than the nose. Dark fruits meld together, blending into washes of bourbon, brandy, and caramelized sugar. I miss the coconut and bold vanilla character that define some of the best Firestone blends. Plenty of alcohol with a brash, nose-singing spicy burn. I'm concerned about how this will age. In my experience, sharp, bold flavors with a lot of heat are the best criteria for aging candidates. This has a lot of heat, but the flavors themselves are mellow and flow together. I suspect it will only become dull with time.

M: Medium-bodied; it's a bit thin, but it coats the tongue and leaves slick flavors. Unfortunately, the blending hasn't served to make the flavors distinct and layered, the way I would expect from a refined and well-blended beer. This one tastes slightly harsh and unpolished. It's young.

O: I am glad to have tried this. If it's around in a year and is receiving strong recommendations, I might buy a bottle. But as I said above, I don't think this beer will be a good candidate for aging. And it's not particularly impressive right now. Too bad.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.15/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 22oz bottle to CBS snifter on 1/26/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, John --

A: It looks a bit like a minimally filtered apple cider. A good pour yields a .25 finger head that dissolves a bit quicker then I'd like. Not a whole lot of lacing, though the collar is solid.

S: A decent amount of hops hit the nose first. As I dig a bit deeper, I get some candy sugar and earthy malt, though there isn't a lot of barrel presence on this.

T: Brown sugar up front. The mid is a bit bitter from the hops, though the malt stunts it's longevity. The finish is muted, as the woody character isn't quite up to snuff.

M: Undercarbed and underwhelmingly thin.

O: A rare dissapointment from Firestone. Considering this is a $20+ bottle, I'm thrilled to have ticked it rather then purchased. Here's to hoping this is like new Coke: a mere aberration.

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Photo of dougofthefuture
3.18/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed as part of Blind Bif #6:

A. Deep amber, with little head. It is clearly syrupy, but still maintains a clean, filtered look. 3.5

S. Hops surprisingly, are the dominating component here. Definitely pine. With that is a medicinally alcohol-sweetness that is mildly offensive, but not too bad. 3

T&M. This is definitely a barleywine or a strong ale, packing a boozy punch. It also does not seem thin, even at colder temps. Still, it stays fairly dry from start to finish thanks to a strong piney hop character. I think there is a touch of bourbon playing out in the finish, but there definitely is some drying oak character. As it warms, a nice burnt toasted malt flavor and a subtle complementing vanilla come out. It seems to hit a sweet spot at cool temps, but then things get weird. Booze comes on strong, throwing everything out of balance. It is thick enough for the style, but not enough to support the ABV. 3/3.5

O. Certainly a lot of depth and complexity, I'd probably try this one from time to time if it were a local. 22 ounces was too much for me though. 3A. Deep amber, with little head. It is clearly syrupy, but still maintains a clean, filtered look. 3.5

S. Hops surprisingly, are the dominating component here. Definitely pine. With that is a medicinally alcohol-sweetness that is mildly offensive, but not too bad. 3

T&M. This is definitely a barleywine or a strong ale, packing a boozy punch. It also does not seem thin, even at colder temps. Still, it stays fairly dry from start to finish thanks to a strong piney hop character. I think there is a touch of bourbon playing out in the finish, but there definitely is some drying oak character. As it warms, a nice burnt toasted malt flavor and a subtle complementing vanilla come out. It seems to hit a sweet spot at cool temps, but then things get weird. Booze comes on strong, throwing everything out of balance. It is thick enough for the style, but not enough to support the ABV. 3/3.5

O. Certainly a lot of depth and complexity, I'd probably try this one from time to time if it were a local. 22 ounces was too much for me though. 3

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.31/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On Tap at Blue Monkey

Firestone fifteen is dark shoe polish brown with dark red tints in color with a centimeter or two of dark coffee brown foam. Leaves minor sticks and has pretty nice retention. It does look rather inviting. Smell takes at least 15 minutes to come out off the tap. Toasted oak, wet wood, bourbon scent, vanilla, almonds and some citrus zest from the double jack. It smells like 14 with DJ basically. Letting this sit for a while, I get citrus from the DJ up front backed by what im guessing is the blong barleywine. Oak plays a big part with faint wood mixing in with the bourbon. Faint coconut and almonds in the taste with a nice roasty taste from the malts, velvet? More citrus seems to round this one out.Im not all that thrilled about it. A nice firm body approaching full. A slight syrupy vibe on certain sips and I find the carb to be a bit lacking. The body is a step down in strength from fourteen. A longish aftertaste. I had a bottle of this and find the tap improves it slightly in texture and taste, but all together I think Im done with this beer.

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Photo of Brewermeister
3.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours dark brown with a slight head that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing. Smells like booze. Mouthfeel is a bit watery.
Tastes very alcoholic; bourbon and tabacco present at first. As it warms up other flavors become noticable like vanilla and dark fruits. I was very dissapointed because 14 was one of my favorite beers and 15 falls very short.

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Photo of bum732
3.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Bourbon and oak up front, dark brandied figs, brown sugar, liquorice. Pumpernickle as it warms.

L: Dark brown, not much head or retention.

T: Bourbon up front with some bready sweetness. Lots of vanilla with toasted pecans. Medium low neutral bitterness with touch of alcohol. Finishes with additional bourbon notes.

M: Medium full body, medium carbonation.

Ok, not as good as 14. Not as complex, kind of a one-noted barleywine, which is too bad since i usually love blends.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.41/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep nutty brown in color that is opaque when held to light, revealing some orange hues. A vigorous pour resulted in several fingers of head, but it receded quickly. Some spotty lacing and legs.

S: Very boozy. First beer that has ever actually burned my nostrils upon taking a deep sniff. Almost fusel alcohol. It's not all bad, though. Distinct notes of sweet dark fruit, brandy, and vanilla come through.

T/M: Not as much alcohol as the nose, but still a lot. Very hot, especially on the way down. Distinct flavors of brandy and bourbon and their components of vanilla and oak. Some dark fruit and nuttiness as well, with just a touch of bitterness in the finish. Full bodied, almost syrupy.

O: A little disappointing to be honest, especially at $20/bottle. Definitely a good beer overall, but the alcohol just overpowers it. Perhaps in a few years this will be phenomenal, but for now it is just a little above average for me.

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Photo of stakem
3.43/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a snifter. The brew appears a dark mahogany color with ruby clarity seen when held to the light. A khaki head appears across the top and is quick to fade. Some faint spotty lace sticks to the glass.

The aroma is sweet with vanilla, caramel, toffee and a bit nutty to fruity alcohol inclusion. A bit of toasty coconut blends into some wood notes and herbal to medicinal character.

The flavor includes dark fruity hints of alcohol reminescent of raisin. A bit of oxidation and nutty grain across the middle with a boozy alcohol addition. More sips reveal cardboard, earth and herbs. Some barrel character like vanilla and caramel is noted towards the back.

This is a medium to light bodied brew with a low level of carbonation. I was not really a fan of this. It has some nice barrel presence but the booze comes out and the flavor falls apart with the light body. This is one of those cases where the sum is not as good as the individual parts.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.48/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice looking beer. A rich mohagany color with good ruby on the edges. Off-white head with some decent retention and moderate stick.

S - There is quite a bit in the nose here. Nuts, fruit, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, butterscotch and dark fruit. Smells quite sweet, but good.

T - Taste is a lot like the nose. Really get a lot of brown sugar in this. As Alex said, reminds a lot of a brown ale. Bit of chocolate, slight hops. I don't really like Double Jack, which was supposed to be the "game changer" in this beer. Maybe that's what's making this one not as good as the last anniversary beers. Overly sweet, becomes a bit cloying and hard to drink.

M - Lower carbonation, close to full bodied.

O - My least favorite of the beers I've had of this series. It's got a lot going on to make for decent complexity, but it's too sweet and I wish they would have focused more on some of the more subdued notes.

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Photo of tadoor
3.49/5  rDev -18.1%
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 Gosox8787
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle poured into my Cigar City Tulip. Served just below room temperature.

Appearance: Much lighter in color from the other Firestone Anniversary beers I've had. The high percentage of lighter barleywines in the blend is really apparent. Pours a cola light medium to dark brown. Pours a slight beige head that recedes quickly. Almost perfectly resembles Coke.

Aroma: Big caramel, brown sugar and molasses upfront. Very sweet. Bourbon and brandy notes are definitely present in the back. Also, a surprising amount of heat. I am not detecting a lot of the Double Jack in here, as I am getting mostly cloying sweetness.

Taste: Brown sugar, honey, and molasses really dominate. Oak and vanilla add some nice backing notes and work well with the sweetness. I definitely still get the bourbon and brandy. In some ways this blend is very nuanced and nice, but I can't help but feel it is too sweet and could have done much better with something to balance all the barleywines. I guess my final impression is a bit too cloyingly sweet. I would be curious to see how this ages though, as I think a little less heat and the components blending together better might serve this well.

Mouthfeel: Plenty of carbonation to not weight this down too much. Medium to full mouthfeel.

Overall, not as successful as some of the other Firestone Walker beers. It is overly sweet at times, but I never found it hard to drink. I also felt it was overly hot at times too. An interesting beer that might age well, but left me a bit disappointed considering the standard I usually hold Firestone to.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Came across 1 bottle on the shelves in MA. Score! 22oz bottle...

A: A nice deep clear copper color with a tan colored head that fades quickly to very small bubbles atop the brew. Good.

S: I get some grassy hop upfront with some sweet toffee quickly followed by some more sweet caramel towards the back. Good.

T: A boozy bourbon taste upfront blended with a hint of creamy walnut. This is quickly followed by an acidy rye. More bourbon burn on the back. This one needs to sit for a while. Very one dimensional right now. Ok.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation. A boozy finish. Good.

O: All in all, this needs some time to calm down. Not very many flavors shine through on this one right now. It's very heavy on the bourbon! I would hope the flavors get better over time.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Thorpe, at the time of this review, this is the #15 beer on the "Top Beers - American Strong Ale" list. I've had all of these anniversary ales and this one is a relatively big disappointment for me. Too thin, not enough barrel comes through. They should just make the 13th over and over again.

Beer is brown, dark, but clear, thin lazy head of small bubbles, minimal carbonation, minimal lacing.

Aroma is mildly sweet, a little toffee, interesting yeast character, and some bourbon.

Beer is thin in body, sweet, a little bourbony, not boozy at all, moderate finish. I was expecting something totally different. This should be called FW anniversary light.

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Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown, smallish head
Smell: Chocolate, roast, bourbon, vanilla.
Taste: Similar to the smell, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate. A bit boozy.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, good carbonation
Overall: Every beer from this series is a bit cardboard-ish to me. They have a very small sweet spot after a couple years and they go downhill immediately after it passes.

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Photo of Overlord
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sooo glad I didn't buy more than a bottle of this, though I had a chance to pick up multiples.

Pours a dark, burnt orange-ish brown with some very subtle notes of deep mahogany red.

Smells like brown sugar, a bit of booze soaked figs/raisins, and ... kind of an indistinct caramel toffee/barleywine aroma. Sounds better than it actually smells. A bit too much alcohol, nothing real fresh or distinct in the aroma. Kind of like you mixed a barleywine and an old ale and called it a day.

Taste is ... disappointing. Not good. Way too much sherry/oxidation/indistinct woodsy malty flavors. There's an offputting bitter note to the figs/raisins/dark fruits, almost like they've been laced with an inappropriate hop strain. Too much booziness. The heat is not integrated into any strong noteworthy flavors, it just kind of makes it feel like they dumped bourbon/whiskey with a drop of vanilla extract into it. Not a bad/terrible beer, but disappointing given the prior achievements of this series.

Mouthfeel is flat. No bubbling. This would be easier to take if this was a heavy beer with really strong distinct elements, but it's not.

This is by far the worst of the Firestone series. I think they maybe need to back off a bit and not release this every year. I think the recipes have become less and less inspired, and what used to be awesome barrel aged backgrounds are now becoming a bit of a muddled mess. Parabola and Abacus are both significantly better than Firestone 13, 14, or 15.

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Photo of jeonseh
3.56/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by awdturboiv @ NWI tasting group bottle share

A - Dark chestnut brown with a thick, syrupy look. No head and very light carbonation

S - malty beer. Light caramel and maple, dark raisins, strong nose

T - Big alcoholic beer with dark fruit, candied dates, light maple syrup. Still a bit hot with some alcohol in it. Get the oak barrel in the finish. Slight bitter hops as well.

MF - syrupy beer light carbonation. Light oak and alcohil in the finish that leaves a slight astringency

O - Solid beer with nice overall sweet flavor. Still a bit hot but it may settle down.

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Photo of ms11781
3.57/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep brown, nearly opaque, with some reddish/amber hues on the sides and bottom of the glass. There is almost no head at the pour and what little foam there is immediately disappears.

A good deal going on in the nose. A big bourbon aroma comes across first but quickly backs off, allowing some other characteristics to come across. When chillled, some chocolate notes are present, along with some caramel and toffee. When the beer warms the chocolate takes a backseat to a dominant caramel and coffee aroma with some nice vanilla and oak notes.

The taste follows along with the nose but it is very sweet, perhaps too sweet at times. The bourbon and vanilla notes are excellent but the caramel and toffee notes aren't so subtle and provide a substantial sweetness. There is a brown sugar aspect that wasn't in the nose that plays a huge part in the flavor profile. There is a nice warming at the back of the throat from some alcohol.

The body is pretty thick and viscous with low carbonation. Although the carbonation is low it feels a bit prickly on the tongue. Combined with the finishing alcohol, it gives the beer a bit of a kick that keeps it from being cloying.

Overall, this is an ok beer. It's pretty much a darker barleywine and those characteristics come through. It's too sweet for my liking. The aroma is great but nearly every characteristic in the nose comes across as sweet as possible in the taste. This beer would be extremely good if the sugary sweetness was dialed back a bit.

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Photo of largadeer
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear tawny body with a small but lasting head.

A good mix of bourbon and brandy aromas, quite a bit of molasses, caramel and tropical fruit, along with a rather harsh ethanol character.

Palate is hot but pretty nice, surprisingly quite fruity with a big molasses/brown sugar character. Lots of brandy and bourbon, but not as much heat as the nose implies. The body is medium, a bit thin compared to past blends. Finishes a bit harsh, though I'm not sure if age will really improve this beer. Overall probably my least favorite of the FW anniversary blends.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours light ruby/burgundy with no head, just a few mocha bubbles.

S-Very floral and perfumey. Different from every other FW Anniversary beer. Pink bubblegum, mango and pale malts accented by spruce/pine hoppiness and a light, dry booziness.

T/M-Strange. More bubblegum, mango, and some passionfruit and fresh cut flowers. The finish is boozy and flat. Not much to say about this one. Considering how many different barrel aged beers are blended into this one, I am surprised how little is going on here. Bourbon oak creeps around the edges, but never quite penetrates the flavor profile. Presents itself as a separate layer of flavor.

O-I'm drinking this as part of a 12-15 vertical, and it's definitely a departure from the others. Interesting. Not one of the best of this series.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

How times have changed. When 12 came out, I called on friends, traded heavily and ended up with 8 bottles. Now, with the 15 on the shelves here, I grabbed just one.

In my Great Divide glass, this beer is a dark brown with reddish brown highlights. A dense, tan head rises briefly before falling off to a ring, leaving little lace. The nose is initially disappointing. Reeking of cheap bourbon, this is a boozy assault. Once it breathes, though, it does open up a little bit revealing a little cocoa, a little caramel and a rather stale malt aroma. The staleness is a little disappointing, showing characteristics of oxidized malt, and I'd be surprised if that wasn't from the blond barleywine in the mix. The barrel character is quite nice, as always, with coconut and booze. A little toffee is also present.As it warms up, some dark fruits become apparent, along with a moderate brandy character. Wit time, a mild citrus note appears too, brightening things up. However, mixed with the booze, it does seem a little harsh.

Opening quite boozy with a blend of caramel, toffee, a little cocoa, a little nuttiness and some brown sugar, this has a lot of wheatwine character to it - and that's a whole lot of nothing. Again, the stale malt character of the nose is distracting and takes away from the blend. The dark fruit character does kick in on the mid-palate, though apart from this aspect, this beer is a little watery here. A blend of mild hop bitterness, booze and tannins are present on the finish, along with some coconut and vanilla. Medium full in body with soft, lush carbonation, this feels really nice on the palate. While solid, it's far from the best anniversary blend from these guys. I'd argue that the individual base beers (at least the ones I've tried) are significantly better.

**Edit 29 Dec 2011**
I left about a third of the bottle in the fridge to breathe overnight, and it improved significantly. The dark fruit and brandy have increased, a little bit of grape and port-like character is noticeable, and strangely, a little bit of marshmallow fluff as well. The booze is mellower, and while the tannins are still too harsh, saving the bottle improved the beer, at least to my nose. I'd give this version a 4/3.5/4

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,112 ratings.
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