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 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 JayQue
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
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 +3.5%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
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. . .

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Photo of MtnSoup
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
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...

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Photo of DrMindbender
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
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 +5.6%
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 +3.3%
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 +6.1%
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 +5.6%
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 +0.9%
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 -4.9%
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 -3.3%
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 +9.9%
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 -0.5%
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 -8.9%
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 dwagner003
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
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 -8.7%
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 +6.3%
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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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

On tap MacGregor's Grill and Taproom in Henrietta, NY.

An aged keg, this was a huge surprise to find.

Pours a ruby garnet brown color, with a quarter inch head that recedes into a film on top of the beer that looks like overhead view of a hurricane on a weather map. Very small splotches of lacing remain down the glass.

Aromas include vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, and sweet bourbon.

The taste is similar and quite complex. At different times, I taste oak, vanilla, bourbon, marshmallow, dark fruits (figs, cherries, raisins), caramel, and brown sugar. The alcohol is mellow and provides a subtle bite.

Medium bodied, creamy smooth mouthfeel. Very easy drinking, despite the ABV. Almost no carbonation after 3+ years of aging.

This was goddamn amazing. It's so drinkable, almost crushable, but it's best to savor the crap out of this one.

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Photo of ricknelson
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Firestone's 15th Anniversary Ale came in 2nd in my recent 8 beer tasting of Firestone Walker's top beers. Out of the seven BA guys we had at the tasting, 15th Anniversary got great reviews for a beer that was about 3 years old. It beat out 16th & 17th Anniversary Ales, Double DBA, Scuaba, and Double Jack and Wookey Jack. Would have loved to have had it when it was fresher, but age did not seem to hurt it all.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pure dark brown pour with a thick off white colored.

S - Bourbon, chocolate, oak, vanilla, some mellow mocha.

T - Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak, caramel, roasted toffee, and sweet mocha from start to finish.

M - Thick medium body, velvet/silky body, lip smacking sticky.

O - This beer aged fantastically and is grossly underrated at its current rating of (94).

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 ox. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Liquid comes out of the bottle a nice amber brown color. While it collects in the glass a bit more of a reddish amber then brown. Off white to tan colored head with medium sized bubbles. Goes away faster than expected, but there's a ring of very small nitro looking bubbles that leave a ring around the edges. Not too much in the way of lacing, but there a little.

Smell is really good. It isn't overly strong, but it's complex, it has a hint of everything. Hints of bourbon, caramel, toffee, candy coated figs, and a very slight citrus hop presence. All of that is coated in a vanilla woody aroma. There's also a nice sweet decadent candy presence, sort of like if haribo did some type of sugar coated grape gummy bear.

Much like the smell, the taste is complex, layered, and delicious. Lots of oaky vanilla and a generous amount of carmel and toffee are extremely strong with a back hint of a mild coco in the back. Sort of like a barley wine blended with a reasonably robust porter at a 80/20 ratio in favor of the barley wine. Some of the above sugar coated figs and also cherries are present, as well as the candy coated grape flavors again. There's a nice citrus peele happiness masked in the back to provide just the right amount of bitterness. Alcohol is well hidden by the rest of the flavors.

Mouthfeel is straight up perfect. A hard medium to the lighter end of full bodied. It's got a lingering flavor that you'd expect in any full bodied beer, but it's not that heavy on the tongue, sot of thin, not something easily accomplished. Nice medium carbonation level that complements the feel quite well. It's sweet, in the best way possible, it takes the sweetest part from the barley, hops, and bourbon without this making it the slightest bit of a sugar bomb. Well balanced, perfect amount of bitterness from the hops and heat from the alcohol. As I said, the heat is present, yet I still wouldn't say this would pass the 12% range, still at 12.5% if someone were to tell me this beer was sub 10%, I wouldn't argue. Drinkability is ridicules, so easy to polish this one off. I've had it fresh, with a year on it, 2 years, and now a little bit more and I gotta say they are all delicious. Love what Firestone Walker is doing with blending and barrel aging beers, this is delicious.

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Photo of Odysseyalien
3.69/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Firestone Walker's biggest competitor is Firestone Walker. This 15th Anniversary bottle is two years old and has aged well. The alcohol is still hot though the flavors have blended well in two years. Still, while this is a delicious strong ale or barleywine, it competes in my book with their Sucaba offering which is an amazing English barleywine. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPad

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Photo of elNopalero
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Updated from 2013:
I tasted this as part of a flight at an epic bottle share. The review is from my notes, based on at least 1 ounce and at most 2 ounce pours. In most instances this would be an insignificant sample size but considering the fact that I could quite possibly never even see this beer again, well, I couldn’t pass it up. [This is my standard intro to my tasting notes from the series.]
This pours a dark caramel hue, like a malty amber orange brown. Great lacing!
I get a lighter aroma than other offerings, with a subdued caramel malt, touch of candied orange and a light hint of stone fruits. The flavor has notes of vanilla and toasted coconut, along with a subdued malty-candied orange. There’s a bit more booziness in this as well.

From 2011:
This year’s vintage is a blended barleywine and it’s absolutely fantastic. Drink it now, or save some to sit on—but definitely try it!

This pours a rich caramel color, a light molasses-tan in the light. It smells fantastic--sweet, with a light caramel and some toasted coconut. It’s flavor is just as fantastic—such a rich, intense, rounded, flavorful barleywine, with caramel, coconut, a rich maltiness and warming alcohol that doesn’t dominate. Smooth, even young. Light and delicate, for a barleywine, yet lingering. Followed my first snifter with another—to share. Could have had a third, easily. Yum.

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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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