Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Firestone 15 - Anniversary AleFirestone 15 - Anniversary Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
firestonewalker.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,114
Reviews:
315
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
11.27%
 
 
Wants:
168
Gots:
735
For Trade:
32
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,114 |  Reviews: 315
Photo of StarRaptor
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of jhimstedt
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of Gavage
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: brown in color with a one inch head that slowly falls.

Smell: nice woodiness of oak, caramel, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: big malt presenece here. Caramel, hint of milk chocolate, some vanilla, a nice amout of oakiness, a moderate bitterness, and some warming alcohol create a well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: this is a great slow sipping beer, esepcially as a nightcap or after dinner drink. Wonderful flavors and easy to drink despite high alcohol levels.

 552 characters

Photo of obywan59
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick, dark brown into my oversized wine glass, yielding a 1 1/2 finger light tan head that recedes, leaving some light lacing and eventually just a ring around the glass with some light haze on the surface. Elegant in my glass.

Smell of bourbon, vanilla and caramel. The aroma reminds me of my favorite candy bar, the Zero bar: coconut and white fudge, especially before the beer warms. A little spice from the hops, and substantial alcohol as well.

The taste is sweet malt, vanilla, bourbon, citric tartness, lots of caramel and somewhat subtle bitterness.

Full-bodied. Some light pepper on the tongue. Rich and syrupy. Throat burn.

This is the best beer ever!! It's a sipper, but yet it's easy to drink. Awesome aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel! The ABV will immobilize you!!

 786 characters

Photo of mcintire78
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of garrisonp
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of disemgrowler
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

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

 2,119 characters

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.

 837 characters

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.

 370 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Been saving this for today. Finished a half marathon and this is a planned treat.
appearance: Mahogany beauty. Dark brown with crimson highlights. Reasonably meaty head for a 12.5%. Nice messy lacing that retreat quickly.
smell: These folks do know barrel aging. Complex with full malt and bourbon. More than a barley but that's the predominant style imo. Vanilla and chocolate.
taste: Gonna plagiarize brentk56 as the description is right on. "layers upon layers of flavor". Bourbon is up front but balanced with lots of chocolate, vanilla. Finish is just wonderful with dark fruits, chocolate, toffee and oh so cohesive. Wow.
mouthfeel: Very well done. Just a tad thin to give a 5.
overall: This is a masterpiece. Wonderful.

 726 characters

Photo of rjacobs6
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of noyellowfizzbeer
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of Rusty18
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of IKR
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear medium reddish-brown coloring with a fair-sized beige head that quickly fades.

Smell: Mild Bourbon, vanilla, and some faint hop notes. The barrel elements are the prominent features in the nose.

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla, slight oak, and hops. The finish is fairly dry with the hop notes present throughout but coming on stronger towards the end. Some slight heat but fairly subtle for the ABV.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a modest level of carbonation.

Overall: For my tastes the bal-aging elements and hop presence seem to be at odds. In my world the hop presence is reduced to an Abacus level and I'm left with a tasty treat. Good beer, but I can do without the upfront hop presence in a bal-aged beer.

 750 characters

Photo of Bilco
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. It poured a dark caramel color with a thin white head scattered across the top of the beer and clinging to the edges of the glass.

The first two things that jump out at me right away in the aroma is the hoppy citrus and the malty caramel flavors. I get some toffee, brown sugar and dark fruits to it along with a some of the barrel aged characteristics. The barrel flavors are pretty reserved in it overall though.

The taste shows a lot of the malty, barleywine flavors to it throughout. I get some notes of caramel, toffee, brown sugar and chocolate along with some hoppy, juicy citrus. The barrel flavors are there as, but again I find them a little more reserved. There is a lot of flavors going on, but they come together pretty well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Overall it was a very flavorful and drinkable beer. It had a nice range of flavors to it but managed to stay relatively balanced. Very solid beer all around.

 995 characters

Photo of siege06nd
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter...

A: Pours a deep, shadowy ruby brown. About a quarter finger of cream colored head that quickly dissipates to a frothy ring around the edge. Good lacing. Solid.

S: Smells of oak, dark fruit, plum, fig. Lots of dark fruit on this. Also quite a bit of citrusy and piney hops. Little bit of chocolate in the background.

T: Chocolate, oak, piney hops, dark fruit, and more chocolate. Lots of bourbon, vanilla, caramel. Pretty good alcohol burn and quite a bit of residual sugar. Hops are prominent at this point, but should calm down over time. Dark fruit and chocolate are most prominent. Good.

M: Full bodied, moderate carbonation, flavors are well integrated.

O: Not quite the revelation that FW 14 was for me over the summer. This doesn't have nearly the age on it that that one did when I had it, so that could be part of the problem here. As if a 4.0 rated beer is a problem. FW maintains its honors as a top notch barrel aging brewer. Not sure I'm loving the citrus and sweet notes that the hops are passing off to this right now, but I think age will do this one extremely well. A good beer now, but I expect great things in 6 mos. to a year.

 1,177 characters

Photo of mfield14
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of maximum12
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jmpizzo & my well-bred mule lurpy1 for bottles of one of my favorite annual brews. 22 oz. bomber piled into two tulips for immediate consumption.

Pours a lordly red blended with the darkest ingots of hell. The nose - oh, the nose. These beers always smell so bloody fine. Pretty much one of everything good in there, welded onto a bourbon. Thing.

Firestone Walker XV is a smile in a bottle. Huge caramel hits first, with a swift kick of bourbon that has at least fourteen long, lingering feet. Then tons of things beneath, as befits its ancestry as a blend. Distinct barleywine caramel slam, more caramel, woozy booze, grain alcohol, sweet malts, brown sugar. Vanilla & oak. Candied sugar really pummels the aftertaste, lingering long-time. Along with the bourbon. Of course. Slick, smooth, & ridiculously easy to drink.

A few of the former anniversary beers haven't been at their peak when released: I don't feel that way about XV. Not sure how this could improve. Excellent, complex, tasty, huge. Of course.

 1,025 characters

Photo of bauermj
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of bluesplit63
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of nhindian
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep crimson which is completely opaque. A relatively hard pour yields only about a finger's worth of tan head with low retention. The lacing as well is pretty minimal with only a few rogue strands of foam hanging around.

S - The aroma brings a rather unusual twist considering the composition of the blend, and one of the first things I notice is a sweet honey and toffee. The barrels are present here as well, but unlike the 14th Anniversary, the oak and vanilla and more subdued. I'm not sure if it's because of the increased proportion of barleywines in this beer or different barrels, but I am getting a lot more brandy notes than bourbon in the form of pitted fruits. A hint of butterscotch as well which I hope is intentional rather than the early onset of an infection.

T - The flavors in Firestone 15 are all about the barleywines and barrels, which shouldn't come as much of a surprise given the blend is 76% barleywine. Caramel, toffee, and coconut hit the mouth first, before being balanced by a rich cocoa and vanilla flavor. The bourbon qualities do come across easier here than in the nose, but I am still predominately tasting brandy over bourbon. This bottle is still pretty fresh, but the addition of Double Jack IPA is almost completely absent; I can't really taste any citrus hops here, and the best I can get is a slight hop bitterness in the finish, but even that is far down the ladder behind more robust flavors. It is certainly a bit hot overall, but the alcohol isn't as off-putting as one would assume and the complexity definitely offsets this.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with decent carbonation. Although not heavy on the mouth, the flavors linger for a long time on the palate, developing the profile as it settles to deliver layer upon layer of nuance.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. Surprisingly, I think I like this a little more than the 14th Anniversary, as it seems to incorporate a little bit more depth. The one thing I'd levy against it would be the amount of alcohol and bitterness, but it is still fresh at this point and can only improve.

 2,145 characters

Photo of hellcatsjg
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%

Firestone 15 - Anniversary Ale from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
4.26 out of 5 based on 1,114 ratings.
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